Careers in Economics

 

In brief

Economists use and apply their understanding of micro and macroeconomics, econometrics, and mathematical and financial economics, to business situations. A wide range of employers value economists' skills of numeracy and analysis and their ability to understand and communicate broad socio-economic and political concepts to a wider audience.

Undergraduate and postgraduate economics degrees are popular with a wide range of recruiters, e.g. strategy and management consultants and investment banks in general, as well as a broad range of other commercial enterprises, public sector and not for profit employers. Transferable skills, e.g. analytical, quantitative and modelling skills, are often as important as an economics qualification.

Where can you work?

What's changing in the sector?

The economist's skill set continues to be highly valued in the labour market. Behavioural economics is a growing area, with the establishment of the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team in 2010 and the USA’s Social and Behavioral Sciences Team in 2015.

Useful Websites

Job sites

CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities.

Jobs.ac.uk – research positions in the UK.

Econ jobs – economist job vacancies.

Economist jobs – job vacancies.

Policy jobs – LSE Careers subscribe to this specialist jobs site and sister sites (including Political jobs) so you can access it for free.

Working 4 an MP

Societies and bodies

Society of Professional Economists – useful resource for insights into working as an economist in a business. Includes news and jobs board.

Economics and Social Research Council

The International Consulting Economists' Association 

Economic Consultancies

NERA, Oxera, Frontier Economics, Vivid Economics, RBB Economics, Alix Partners, Cornerstone Research, Oxford Economics, and Compass Lexecon.

Research Institutes and think tanks

Institute of Economic Affairs – includes useful information on a wide range of topics including student competitions/internships.

ODI fellowship scheme – offers postgraduate economists and statisticians the chance to work in developing country public sectors as local civil servants. 

Useful Information

Routes in

Introduction

Financial services, banking, consultancy and management are typical areas where the combination of analytical and quantitative skills economics graduates have is in particularly high demand.  An Economics degree would put you in a strong position to apply for most graduate schemes offered in these sectors, many of which may offer further formal qualifications.

If you’re looking to gain experience 

Gaining experience that allows you to apply your quantitative and analytical skills in a real-life setting is extremely valuable. Internships are widely offered, e.g. at management consultancies, banks, economic consultancies and research institutes such as the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

If you’re early on in your career 

There are various economist specific graduate schemes, for example, within the public sector, the Government Economic Fast Stream or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Economic Diplomatic Stream; within the financial sector, the International Monetary Fund and The Bank of England.

Entry level economist roles, rather than graduate schemes are also available and are often advertised on either the central civil service jobs board or various job platforms (see Useful Websites).

Most of the broader graduate programmes will also be open to economics graduates

If you have more experience

International organisations offer training opportunities specifically open to those with a PhD, including The International Monetary Fund and The World Bank. The European Central Bank, offers both offers internships and a graduate programme to citizens of member countries, typically to Master’s and PhD students.

If you’re changing career

As legislation and business decisions are intricately connected, government and business welcome employees who are switching careers; they value the knowledge and expertise that career changes may bring when moving from one sector to another.

Not sure what to do next?

We’re here to talk over your career plans with you. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, so don’t feel you have to have it all worked out. You can book a one-to-one appointment with a careers consultant on CareerHub. 

Job roles

An economics degree can take you in many directions. Some roles will directly draw on your economics knowledge, but the broad skills acquired are widely transferable across many sectors that handle data or quantitative analysis, from environment and health, to politics and development.

We’ve outlined roles that are often of interest to LSE students with links to where you can find more information. If you can, try and talk to someone who’s doing the job you’re interested in, so you can get a real flavour of what it’s like.

  • Chartered accountant – works across all areas of business including the charity and not for profit sector. Audits and assesses/verifies financial accounts. Further training and qualifications are built in to graduate training schemes, allowing registration with the relevant regulatory body. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) provides a useful introduction in What is Chartered Accountancy?
  • Actuary – assesses risk through applied mathematics. Actuarial roles involve problem solving and interpersonal skills when working with clients. The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries explains in more detail in What is an Actuary?, and you might also find our Careers in Financial Services page useful.
  • Analyst/Associate – a common, entry-level economist role. Provides clear recommendations on a wide range of current economic issues affecting many different sectors, including retail, health, transport, utilities, and energy. Can expect to move in quick succession through several roles and departments within their first two years.
  • Economic consultant – applies techniques of economic analysis to help businesses, regulators and policy makers evaluate and implement strategic decisions. The Inside Careers guide to Economic consulting provides further details.
  • Economist – works across private and public sectors. Combining research and analysis, economists seek to uncover or forecast trends to advise industry or the government. The Prospects Economist job profile is a useful resource.
  • Market Researcher – compiles and analyses information and presents it to their client to help them make decisions. Roles can be based in-house and within agencies, and can be qualitative or quantitative, the latter being more applicable for those with an economics background. Check out the Prospects Market researcher job profile.
  • Data analyst/Statistician – focuses on the analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. Often strong communication skills are needed to communicate findings to your client/organisation. Statisticians are often seen a specialist type of Data Analyst, who apply mathematical theory to quantitative information/data. The Prospects Data analyst and Statistician profiles provide further details.
  • Researcher – works in in government, education, consultancy, professional services, the list is endless! To find out more about research careers, visit our Careers in Research page.