28 July, 2020
By Mike Simpson
Usually, there are two reasons to choose any particular college major: sheer enjoyment and career potential. Many economics majors get at least a bit of both. There are some exciting jobs for economics majors out there, allowing students to take their love of how the world works… well, out into the world.
Many people underestimate the potential of their economics major, mainly because they aren’t aware of how many economics degree jobs are around. Luckily, we’re here to shine a spotlight on that. Whether you have questions about entry-level economics jobs, economics major salary levels, or anything else about the economics major and how it can turn into a career, here’s what you need to know.
What Is an Economics Major, and How Does a Career in Economics Look? Why Does It Matter?
Before we dig into economics jobs, let’s pause for a moment and look at what economics is and what it means to major it in. According to Merriam-Webster, economics is “a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.”
When you decide to become an economics major, you’re dedicating yourself to the study of material prosperity and the conditions that create, move, or destroy it. You’ll explore the underlying principles, such as the classic supply and demand model, as well as examine various theories about how goods, services, and money move throughout a locale, be that a small community, the entire world, or anything in between.
If you graduate with an economics degree, you actually have a surprising number of career options. Many of the foundational understandings you gain can be used in many business areas, including some you may not expect.
Often, tech, business, finance, and various other departments would be thrilled to have an economics major in their ranks. It’s a versatile degree, giving you possibilities far beyond traditional economist jobs.
Top 15 Jobs for Economics Majors
Alright, now that you have some insight into what economics is and that there are more economics major jobs than you may have realized, let’s move forward. After all, you’re here for one thing: to learn about the top 15 jobs for economics majors.
While this list doesn’t showcase every position you could possibly land with an economics degree, it does give you an idea of the major’s versatility. With that in mind, here’s a look at the different options.
If you had to pick one role as a quintessential economics job, economist would be it. These professionals spend their days studying economies, specifically how an area’s resources influence its production, output, and material wealth.
Often, economist jobs are all about research with a heavy dose of theorizing. You know how you approached your science projects in school? The process is similar. You might develop a hypothesis and then gather data, allowing you to determine if your idea was correct.
Generally, it takes a Master’s degree to get to this level. Once there, economists earn a pretty penny for their expertise, too. Usually, a yearly salary of around $105,000 is pretty normal, though the top 10 percent can snag an annual pay rate in excess of $185,000.
2. Market Research Analyst
As a market research analyst, you can use knowledge to explore how a product or service is impacted by shifts in economic conditions, industry trends, and consumer sentiment. Along with strong data gathering and analysis skills, strong presentation capabilities are a must. In this role, you’d need to be able to showcase your findings to stakeholders, ensuring the company can make smart decisions.
Usually, it takes a Bachelor’s degree to land a position as a market research analyst. Once you’re in the role, a salary of about $63,790 a year is certainly possible. Plus, if you end up in the top 10 percent of earners, you could easily cross $122,000 a year.
3. Financial Analyst
We’ve covered the financial analyst job description in-depth previously, but here’s the gist of what this job entails. Financial analysts are exactly what they sound like: finance professionals who collect, manage, analyze, and study financial data. They are a little bit accountant, and a little bit counselor, sprinkled with a dab of fortune teller.
In exchange for their insights, an annual salary of $85,660 is pretty common. But, if you cross into the top 10 percent, $167,420 or more is reasonably likely.
As an actuary, you’d use your skills to analyze risk by gathering data and reviewing the impact of a range of variables. You might estimate the likelihood of certain catastrophic events, including everything from deadly fires to business failures, depending on your exact niche. Additionally, you’d develop plans for mitigating or addressing risk, reducing a company’s exposure, and reducing the cost of a poor outcome.
Usually, you’ll need at least a Bachelor’s degree to get started as an actuary. You’ll also need additional certification in many cases. But you’re effort means you can land a yearly salary of about $108,350, working your way up to $193,600 or more.
5. Business Analyst
Another one of the great jobs for economics majors is business analyst. Now, we’ve covered the business analyst job description in depth before, but here’s a quick overview. In this role, you’d use your data analysis powers to help companies make critical decisions, guiding them on how they can improve products, services, processes, and more.
The role is part technical, part business-oriented. Often, these pros serve as go-betweens, acting as bridges between both worlds. In exchange for their know-how – which they usually earn while getting a Bachelor’s degree – they typically earn around $75,880 a year.
Did you know that accountant was one of the economics major jobs on the table? It’s true. With an economics degree, you can join this prestigious profession.
While the accountant job description can be complex, on a basic level, you’d spend your time reviewing and managing financial information. Anything from account analysis to auditing could be on your plate, giving you some variety.
The median annual salary for accountants comes in at $71,550, though it can get up above the $124,000 mark. As an entry-level economics job, it isn’t a bad choice either. Even starting out, making $44,480 a year or so is certainly possible.
7. Data Analyst
Being an economics major gives you mad data analysis skills. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the data analyst job description could be right up your alley once you have your degree.
Data analysts take piles of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data and make sense of it. You’ll identify patterns and trends, gather insights, and share details about how various decisions would impact the company.
8. Research Assistant
If you’re looking for entry-level economics jobs, research assistant is a solid choice. It allows you to assist experienced professionals by gathering data, analyzing findings, and creating reports, all of which are foundational skills in economics. Plus, this is a role you may be able to land while you’re working toward your degree, giving you a chance to gain experience before you finish college.
Social science research associates usually make about $47,510 a year. However, the top ten percent can get to $78,800.
9. Pricing Analyst
Pricing analysts have one main goal: find the optimal price for a product or service within the consumer or business-to-business market. It involves market research and data analysis, as well as a strong understanding of various economics principles. Plus, they may conduct pricing audits, monitor material costs, and coordinate with marketing teams to ensure the pricing and marketing strategies align.
Usually, a pricing analyst earns about $93,168 a year. However, with a bit of experience, crossing the six-figure threshold is definitely on the table.
10. Compensation and Benefits Manager
In many ways, workforces are their own tiny economies. Employees need to feel that their salaries and benefits are fair based on their skill levels and workloads. If there’s a disconnect, turnover reigns.
As a compensation and benefits manager, you’d focus on analyzing workforce and labor market trends. Then, you’d use your expertise to analyze supply and demand for various job classifications, create compensation packages to attract and retain the right kinds of professionals, and guide senior management on critical decision points.
11. Policy Analyst
Economics majors who want to use their skills to positively impact the public may enjoy a career as a policy analyst. These professionals analyze data and use their economic knowledge to help government agencies and legislative bodies address issues in ways that most benefit communities.
As with most of these jobs, a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is usually a must. With a degree in-hand, policy analysts can often secure strong salaries, coming in around $58,924 a year. But by working your way up into a senior policy analyst job, $86,568 is possible.
12. Business News Reporter
Talking about the world of business isn’t easy if you don’t understand the various mechanisms in play. That’s how some economics majors end up pivoting professionally, finding themselves part of newsrooms and reporting teams.
At times, the positions focus on reporting the news. However, some economics majors may spend their time as analysts and commentators, sharing their insights and perspectives on a range of business matters.
The median annual salary for news analysts, reporters, and journalists comes in at $46,270. However, the top 10 percent bring in more than $117,000 a year, showing how far your career can potentially go.
13. Environmental Economist
A specialty position, environmental economists are part policy analyst, part traditional economist, and even part ecologist. Your main duties would be to use data to determine how various policy changes, such as laws relating to fossil or alternative fuels, impact the environment.
Generally, you’d need at least a Bachelor’s degree. If you major in economics, a minor in environmental studies, ecology, or a similar discipline could help you move forward down this path.
The position may be particularly intriguing to eco-minded individuals who aren’t interested in traditional research or advocacy approaches. In exchange for your know-how, a salary of about $71,360 a year is probably on the table.
14. Insurance Underwriter
Underwriters focus on evaluating risk, something that an economics major would be well-equipped to handle. Much of an insurance underwriter’s job focuses on data analysis, allowing them to determine coverage and premium amounts that make sense for various clients.
After earning your Bachelor’s degree, securing a position with an annual salary near $70,000 is likely. Given some time, you might be able to join the top 10 percent of earners, bringing in a salary above $124,320.
Economics enthusiasts tend to adore statistics. If number-crunching is one of your favorite activities, this could be one of the best jobs for economics majors for you. You’d design surveys, collect responses, analyze the data, and generate reports.
In many cases, statisticians have Master’s degrees. However, you may be able to get away with a Bachelor’s if you’re focused on entry-level economics jobs. Once you get going, you could make around $92,000 annually. With some time, a salary northward of $162,000 is even possible.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, there are a lot of amazing jobs for economics majors. If you’re working on your degree or are a recent graduate, consider the options above. There’s a good chance at least one is an excellent fit.
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