What Can I Do with a Degree in Economics?
The following is a list of job title and job descriptions for entry-level positions that graduates with a B.A or B.S. in economics might be hired. The list is grouped under three headings: Direct, Less Direct, and Indirect. The "directness" has to do with the fit between academic training and job requirements.
DIRECT Job Opportunities
The skills required for the jobs listed here are so similar to the skills acquired in studying economics that a B.A. or B.S. in economics will usually serve as a credential for getting the job.
LESS DIRECT Job Opportunities
Under this heading, the fit is still very close. The skills of an economics major largely coincide with those required to do these jobs. However, knowledge of economics may be less pertinent to these positions, and a degree in economics alone may or may not serve as a credential for employment.
INDIRECT Job Opportunities
At first glance, the jobs cited here might not appear to have much to do with the study of economics. Yet there is a connection. The primary skills required in these jobs overlap substantially with some of the skills an economics major usually acquires. Purchasing agents, for instance, are regularly involved in financial analysis, and Product Marketing Specialists use knowledge of economics in assessing and comparing prospective markets.
Direct Job Opportunities
Assembles and analyzes statistics, calculates risk probabilities, and determines premium rates for policies and pension plans within the three primary areas of insurance: life, health, and property and casualty. Works for insurance companies and their regulators.
BANK RESEARCH ANALYST
Researches analyze and assess prospective banking projects. Typically works for the bank involved.
Assists Compensations/Benefits Analyst in examining compensation packages, including wages, salaries, and benefits, and in comparing them with those in the same field to determine competitiveness and fairness. Employers in many diverse fields, including compensation consulting firms.
Assesses the feasibility and profitability of specific financial operations, programs, and transactions. Works for corporations, government agencies, investment banks, and brokerage firms. Usually requires relevant course work.
Compiles statistical reviews and forecasts. Maintains and reviews financial literature and records regarding departments, industries, and possible transactions. Works for corporations, financial institutions. Usually requires relevant course work.
INVESTMENT BANKING ANALYST TRAINEE
Completes basic research required for investment banking transactions between institutions with long term capital needs and major investors. Researches both broad industries and the specific financial status of particular institutions prepare documents and reports for staff and clients.
LABOR RELATIONS RESEARCHER
Assists labor relations specialists with detailed research required for contract negotiations. Prepares advisory reports on union-management agreements. Works for unions, unionized employers, and government arbitrators.
Identifies information that can be used to support the positions and the efforts of lobbyists. Involves library research, attendance at conferences and committee meetings, and writing of reports. Employers include a diversity of special and public interest groups as well as professional lobbyists.
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT RESEARCHER
Explores the real estate needs of particular communities, gathers information about available parcels of land, and explores the market feasibility of proposed projects. Works for real estate developers.
Assists in determining whether an insurance company will take on a particular risk. Analyzes actuarial studies and other pertinent information, prices policies in an attempt to balance risk and the need for profit, and answers in inquiries from agents and clients. Works for insurance companies and reinsurance companies (which underwrote other insurance companies in cases of very high risk).
URBAN PLANNING RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Under the supervision of a city or regional planner, conducts research into the economic, environmental, and social consequences of development in order to support strategies for appropriate growth and renovation of rural, suburban, or urban areas. Typically works fora government agency. May work for a consulting or architectural firm.
Less Direct Job Opportunities
This is much more than a bookkeeper. Jobs can be found in financial analysis, financial consultation, and financial management for individuals, small businesses, corporations, and government. Three areas of specialization: tax, audit, and management consulting. There are domestic and foreign opportunities. Requires prior accounting course work or experience.
ADVERTISING MEDIA PLANNER
Determines the most cost-effective means of reaching a target market via print and broadcast media. Researches demographics of different media outlets, and analyzes demographic and budgetary aspects of advertising proposals.
Reviews records and procedures to determine whether banks are in compliance with federal and state regulations as well as internal bank policy. Works for federal reserve banks or as an internal auditor for commercial banks.
BANK TRUST OFFICER
Administers private, corporate, and probate trusts, and advises individual and corporate customers regarding investment risks and opportunities.
BANKING OPERATIONS MANAGER
Coordinates working of staff and systems operate internal control procedures and meet customer needs on a daily basis.
Researches a variety of issues involved in working with six major types of energy: oil and gas, coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, solar, and "alternatives" such as wind, tide, and geothermal. Works for producers, government agencies, consulting firms, and lobbying groups.
Researches develop and present information regarding environmental issues in fields such as: earth, marine, and atmospheric sciences; mining; forestry; public works; and parks, wildlife, and water management. Works for government agencies, consulting firms, citizens groups, research laboratories, scientific associations, and industry.
Writes institutional and policy histories; researches and reports on current issues, long-range trends; edits public records, manages archives. Works for executive, legislative, and judicial agencies, international institutions, military services, cultural agencies, planning agencies, public archives and libraries, private industries and corporations.
Researches and analyzes a diversity of geopolitical issues on behalf of the government. Employed by intelligence services such as the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, and military intelligence agencies. Work requires testing and security clearance.
INTERNAL BANK AUDITOR
Going from department to department reviews banking transactions and procedures, analyzes them, and reports recommendations to department heads. Works for the same banks she/he audits.
Performs research, writing, and liaison functions for a state or U.S. senator or congressional representative or for a municipal officeholder. Positions typically secured through direct contact with officeholder.
Acts as a liaison between a bank and its loan customers. Analyzes potential loan markets, evaluates credit-worthiness of prospective customers, recommends approval or denial of loans, administers active loan accounts.
MARKET RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Undertakes the preliminary research for a market study, gathering data concerning competitors products, organizing existing sales records, etc. Also assists in writing final project reports. Works for market research firms, advertising agencies, manufacturers, and retailers.
MARKET RESEARCH STATISTICIAN
Provides guidance in a market study ensuring that the results obtained are valid and worthy of interpretation. Positions exist in market research firms, advertising agencies, manufacturers, and retailers.
MONEY MARKET AND SECURITIES TRADER
Manages stock, bond, and other financial paper transactions for commercial banks, investment banks, and special trading firms in order to make a profit from bank operating funds.
POLITICAL CAMPAIGN WORKER
Assists in planning, fundraising, research, writing issue statements, canvassing, and assessing voter attitudes. Works for candidates or interest groups during political election campaigns. Frequently leads to permanent positions with political organizations officeholders.
SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Does sociological analysis; studies policy issues; prepares analytical reports; coordinates interdisciplinary studies. Works for "think tanks", universities, public research agencies.
Deals with stock, bond, and commodity transactions. Analyzes the financial status of clients, sets investment goals with clients, proposes particular investments, buys and sells the investments that clients select. Training typically offered by the employing firm. Paid on commission.
Assists in the design of survey interviews and questionnaires, the interviewing of subjects, the management of interviewers, Collection and analysis of data, and documentation and presentation of findings. Works for government agencies and private surveying and market research organizations.
Buys and sells commodities, bonds, money, or other "financial paper" on behalf of her/himself or his/her employer, rather than on behalf of clients. Works for commercial banks and brokerage firms.
Indirect Job Opportunities
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION REPRESENTATIVE
Researches analyze and monitor staffing policies in order to achieve affirmative action goals. Conducts outreach activities in order to identify and attract qualified women and minority applicants for company openings.
BIOMEDICAL/MEDICAL RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Follows detailed instructions and prescribed procedures to assist in laboratory research. Keeps records write reports, often conducts library research. Works in hospitals, clinics, colleges and universities, research institutes, and private industry.
Prepares and uses maps of all types, including topographic, geologic, hydrographic, aeronautic, recreational, oceanographic, and a variety of thematic maps. Employers include government agencies, map making firms, corporations that mine and drill for natural resources, and universities.
COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID OFFICER
Helps students secure financial aid by providing appropriate information and processing a wide variety of applications.
COMPUTER MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
Writes brochures, datasheets, and other marketing materials to promote a computer product. May include video scripting. Works for manufacturers of computer hardware and software. Typically requires some technical knowledge.
CONSULTING OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATOR
Furnishes support services for consultants. Coordinates travel arrangements, proofreads and edits reports, develops charts and graphs to illustrate findings, maintains and operates audiovisual equipment for presentations, organizes resource libraries. Works for consulting firms.
Writes freelance reports for one or more publications. Usually has special knowledge of the subject or geographic area covered. Works as an independent contractor.
Reviews scripts, checks for factual and technical accuracy, rewrites copy, assists in creating storyboard representations of scenes. Relevant course work or prior experience preferred. Works for entertainment, documentary, educational, and industrial film producers.
HOUSING AND STUDENT LIFE COORDINATOR
Administers housing services and produces special programs to promote positive interaction on campus. Works for universities and colleges.
Distributes materials and disseminates information about a particular issue or organization, recruits, volunteers, solicits funds, and organizes such efforts as allies,letter-writing campaigns, and voter registration drives. Employers include special and public interest groups as well as professional lobbyists.
Within a given geographic, product-specific, or customer-specific territory, visits potential customers, analyzes their needs, promotes products, and takes orders. Works for one manufacturer on commission. Entry-level hires may work for a base salary plus commission.
Performs preparatory work required to research a case, and develops documentation required to write a brief. May interview prospective witnesses. Works for private law offices, law firms, prosecutors, and public defenders.
Researches story and script ideas; maintains research files on topics and people; checks stories for accuracy. Works for newspaper, magazine, or book publishers.
Researches story and script Ideas for broadcast media. Maintains research files on topics and people and checks stories for accuracy. Works for radio and television producers.
Assists researchers in collecting and analyzing data, observing and interviewing people, surveying appropriate literature, and writing reports in order to advise or inform clients. Works for research and consulting firms.
SPECIAL PROGRAM TEACHERS
Instructs students enrolled in special education programs. Settings (e.g., churches, social service agencies) and topics (e.g., Vocational training, preschool Head Start, drug abuse prevention) vary widely.
Maintains existing telecommunications systems and researches, plans, and implements new ones. Acts as a liaison between the employer, systems vendors, and consultants. Assesses the employees' telecommunications needs, analyzes system use, supervises and trains users and maintenance staff. Works for organizations with complex telecommunications needs.
TRADE SHOW COORDINATOR
Directs the display of exhibits in trade shows, promoting specialized sales within an industry. Employers include trade show service companies and high-tech manufacturers.
Web Links for Jobs
- Federal Jobs for College Graduates - The U.S. Government's official site for jobs and employment information provided by the United States Office of Personnel Management.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: The 1996-1997 handbook describes occupations in detail and provides occupational outlook information prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- America's Job Bank: A network linking the 1,800 state Employment Services offices. Job seekers need to take the job number to a state employment agency in order to apply for positions.
- The Monster Board: Free access to over 50,000 jobs; upgraded technology to help you find the right job; meet Jobba-The-Hunt, your personal job search agent; site includes employer profiles.
- Cool Works: Check out the "cool" places to work. This site includes Cruise jobs,
Ski jobs, Resort jobs, jobs in National Parks and much more.
- Career Mosaic: An excellent site to link into employer profiles, Online Job Fairs, Health Care opportunities, International job opportunities, and job search tips.
- Career Path: Select from 28 major U.S. newspapers and search the want ads by job categories or keywords.