The traditional way of assessing the economics major career outlook does not yield a realistic feedback because openings in this field are not usually tagged as economics or economist’s jobs. With the exception of high-level, policy-making decisions, which are positions that typically require a master’s or doctorate in the field, many of the jobs for economics majors are described as analyst, researcher or support staff. The truth is that economics majors find great success in a variety of positions across diverse industries. This field of study hones your analytical skills while providing experience with the processing of complex data to generate usable reports. Economics majors are trained to assess information at the micro and macro levels.
Career Options with a Bachelor’s in Economics
Economics majors are not trained for a specific framework in a particular career in the same was as nurses or engineers are trained for instance. This makes the knowledge base and skill set of economics majors even more valuable. Economics graduates are trained in logical structures and organized context that provide a problem-solving framework for viewing the big picture vs. the local context. The universal value of this skill set is demonstrated by the diverse fields that economics majors find themselves in after graduation.
Fresh out of college, you can find opportunities in the corporate offices of large retail and restaurant chains as an analyst. You will be tasked with tracking and reviewing sales data and other statistics and drilling down to understand why the numbers are up, down or sideways. Management wants to know the specific causes of up and down trends in sales to adjust operational strategies accordingly. It will be your job to determine, by manipulating the numbers, if sales are up due to increased traffic from promotional campaigns, price reductions and other incentives or an increase in sales per customer attributable to outside factors such as an issue with competitors’ production streams. You will have to present reports that show relationships between the causes and effects of certain factors.
Career Outlook with a Master’s in Economics
Armed with a master’s degree and a few years of field experience will set you up for managerial positions in business, government agencies and non-profit organizations. You will be tasked with analyzing the efficiency of systems and processes with the ultimate goal of recommending solutions to improve the current structure. At this level, you may be competing with MBA graduates, but as an economics major, you will have the field-tested skills to back up your solutions-oriented approach to managerial and entrepreneurial issues. Earning a law degree instead of a master’s is an alternative career pathway for economics majors.
Career Outlook with a Doctorate in Economics
With a doctorate added to your credentials, you may find opportunities that are actually tagged as economist’s jobs. These opportunities may include high-level positions in the Foreign Service of the State Department, the Federal Reserve Board and other key federal agencies. Economists are key players in the operations of international profit and non-profit organizations and policy think tanks.
Related Resource: 10 Best Deals on Online Master’s in Economics Degrees
The economics major career outlook, whether you have undergraduate or graduate credentials, is positive especially in careers that are strong on research, logical thinking and problem solving. You can work with federal and local governments, corporations, academic institutions or establish your own path as an entrepreneur. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expect a 6 percent growth rate between 2014 and 2024 for economist occupations, which is strong and on par with average growth rates.