Economists use economic concepts, theories and analytical techniques to provide advice and practical information that will aid managerial planning and decision-making tasks. They do this by studying data and statistics and by using their understanding of economic relationships to uncover trends. They carry out considerable amounts of research and collect large amounts of information.
They then analyse all the data they have amassed to assess feasibility, produce forecasts of economic trends, determine the implications of their findings and make recommendations of ways to improve efficiency.
Economists use specialist software and advanced methods in statistical analysis to assemble, sift and present this information, which is then used to advise businesses and other organisations, including government agencies.
Employers of Economists
- other government departments and think-tanks;
- privatised utilities and their regulating bodies;
- local authorities;
- regional development agencies;
- higher education institutions (economics lecturers);
- management consultancies;
- specialist economic consultancies;
- insurance and accountancy firms;
- trade unions;
- political parties;
- international organisations such as the European Commission and the United Nations;
- financial journals and newspapers.
- devising methods and procedures for obtaining data;
- understanding various sampling techniques that may be used to conduct different types of surveys;
- creating, as well as using, various econometric modelling techniques to develop forecasts;
- understanding and interpreting data;
- analysing data to test the effectiveness of current policies, products or services and advising on the suitability of alternative courses of action and the allocation of scarce resources;
- explaining research methodology and justifying conclusions drawn from research data;
- providing economic advice to a range of stakeholders;
- evaluating past and present economic issues and trends;
- writing various technical and non-technical reports on economic trends and forecasts to inform the press and public;
- delivering numerous oral and visual presentations, which non-economist audiences must be able to understand thoroughly in order to inform decisions.
You will need to be a graduate to enter this profession. You will normally start as an economic research analyst if working in the private sector, or if in government, as an assistant economist. Entry is possible with a degree in economics or a joint degree including the following combinations:
- economics with finance;
- economics with law;
- economics with management studies;
- economics with mathematics;
- economics with politics;
- international economics.
- well-developed research skills including the ability to extract and analyse relevant data to make sound judgements;
- skill with statistical information;
- excellent written and spoken communication skills to convey complex ideas to people with varying levels of economic expertise;
- the ability to build productive working relationships and work within a team;
- excellent organisational and time management skills;
- the ability to work alone under pressure, often to tight deadlines;
- accuracy and attention to detail;
- the ability to juggle and prioritise different tasks;
- a genuine interest in economics;
- self-reliance and motivation;
- good IT skills.