17 Types of Economists (With Job Options and Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 24 September 2022
Published 29 September 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Economists can pick and choose from many exciting job opportunities because their skills are relevant in every industry. People require economists to study money related trends, metrics and data to make informed business decisions. Learning about the different career paths available can help you move forward in your field. In this article, we define what an economist is, state the various areas of specialisation for economists, specify how much they can earn and provide success tips to help you excel in your career.
What types of economists are there?
There are many different types of economists. An economist is a professional who researches how a business, industry, community and an individual's financial resources relate to how it's being used. Professionals use this data to foresee future economic trends to make laws, regulations, agreements and policies. The ability to make predictions about the future, often about subjects that can substantially affect a business's strategy, is useful within every industry. The broad demand for economist's skills had led to a wide variety of different roles for them to specialise in.
Types of economists
Below is a list of 17 different types of economists. There are many transferable skills between these roles, but knowing what you'd like to specialise in is advantageous for deciding what education and work experience you would like to undergo. Read on for specifics of each role:
1. Development economists
Development economists are people who specialise in helping countries achieve growth in their economies. For example, they can provide ideas on how the government may implement better education, improve health conditions, increase the employment rate and create wealth. Development economists can work as policy advisers in non-governmental organisations, charities, banks or global organisations.
2. Academic economists
Academic economists are people who specialise in teaching economics and carrying out research on the economy. They can work in universities, research-based organisations, professional training institutes and consulting firms. Getting hired as an academic economist often requires an advanced degree in economics or any other similar course.
Related: How To Become a Professor
Econometricians are economists who build numerical and mathematical models to provide solutions in the economy. For example, they can use statistics from the data of the economy to suggest initiatives that encourage equality, prosperity and employment. Specialists in this field often find work in investment banks, universities and research organisations.
4. Mathematical economists
Mathematical economists are like econometricians. They make use of mathematical tools such as arithmetic, algebra, tables, charts and measurements in solving economic variables like price, consumption, income, expenditure and investment. As a mathematical economist, you can work with banks, business organisations and government agencies.
5. Business economists
Business economists are experts in providing theories and practical tools which businesses can use to achieve growth, customer loyalty, profit and continuity. For example, they can give insight into how a product can bring in more income in two years. With a degree in business economics, you can work as a business development manager, financial analyst, loan officer and business analyst in financial institutions, such as banks and other industries.
Related: 8 Essential Business Manager Skills
6. Financial economists
Financial economists are a group of specialists who focus on managing the resources and activities related to money in banks, investment banks, hedge funds and other financial establishments. These can be loans, savings, pension and financial benefits. You can work as a financial analyst, financial economics manager, financial controller and graduate analyst in the financial industry.
Related: 10 Essential Finance Manager Skills
Agroeconomists are people who study and implement monetary policies in the production, sale and use of food, including other raw materials from farming in a country. They examine agricultural data to give advice, such as the best products to invest in. If you specialise in agroeconomics, you can work for agricultural institutes, farms, restaurants, hotels, universities and the government.
8. International economists
International Economists study the economic activities in international markets, like how countries trade with each other and enhance their market potential. They provide structure and guidelines to promote growth in the domestic economy, such as setting tariffs and creating regulations. Job opportunities may be available for you in the government, financial institutions and global organisations.
9. Labour economists
Labour economists concentrate on the demand, recruitment and entrance of professionals into the workforce, including how much income they make. They study how many people are in the labour pool in a country, the qualifications they have and how they can learn new skills to help them excel in their jobs. Labour economists can apply for jobs with the government, research institutions and consulting firms.
10. Industrial economists
Industrial economists are professionals who study the economic trade of markets across individual industries. They provide insight that helps to develop and sustain businesses. Experts in this field can find job opportunities in research organisations, universities, consulting firms and financial institutions.
Macroeconomists are experts who recommend theories and principles that help the government gain increase in production, savings and investment. They do this by studying the national expenses, national income, rate of employment and global markets. Macroeconomics graduates may find roles in financial institutions, such as banks.
Microeconomists are skilled in focusing on individuals' and companies' buying behaviour within a country. They study the laws guiding people to find out the factors influencing these consumer behaviours. Qualified microeconomics are sought after and can find job openings in almost any big organisation.
13. Public finance economists
Public finance economists specialise in the management of public funds and resources of the government. For example, public finance economists set and manage the amount of tax paid by individuals and business organisations. Usually, as an expert in this field, you can apply for a job with the government and global organisations.
14. Urban economists
Urban economists use their understanding of economics to explore the use of land and the development of urban areas in a country. They evaluate these communities to accommodate the population and plan for the building of future homes and companies. You may work with the government, real estate companies and non-governmental organisations.
15. Research economists
Research economists carry out research, form hypothesis and conduct scientific enquiries to find economical solutions for the growth and development of individuals, businesses and societies. They usually direct their research on factors like employment rates, cost of living, interest rates and the rate of inflation. You may find job opportunities in a university or a research organisation.
16. Entrepreneurial economists
These are economists who study how startups and small and medium-sized enterprises affect the economy. They use their findings to help brands and the government by offering advisory services. For example, they can recommend policies to the government that would help entrepreneurs thrive in the country. In this field, you may find job opportunities as a business analyst or entrepreneurial economist in the government, international organisations, large corporations and non-governmental organisations.
Related: 9 Essential Business Analyst Skills
17. Gender economists
These are economists who study the impact gender has on the economy. They support diversity and gender equality in the labour market by suggesting economic policies that are impartial to any gender. You can start a career in this field by applying to global organisations, non-governmental organisations, research institutes and the government.
How much do economists make?
The average salary of an economist is £45,095 per year for a full-time job. Your area of specialisation, location, qualifications, experience and job level determines how much you can earn as an economist. Taking on freelance work such as consulting, research or article writing can increase your income further.
Related: 14 of the Best-Paid Jobs in Finance
Tips for economists
There are a number of ways to improve your abilities as an economist, making you a more valuable candidate and employee. Here are a few tips that may help you excel as an economist:
Improve your skills
Being an economist often involves carrying out research and analysing data. Employers may require you to have an advanced degree before offering you a role as an economist, such as a doctor of philosophy, a master's degree in economics or another closely related course. You can enhance your research, technical and numerical skills further by getting an additional degree or professional certification in this area. This may give you an edge over your colleagues in the same field.
Networking involves reaching out to people who may be influential in your field. You can network by joining professional groups on social media, attending webinars or physical seminars. This may help you easily move forward in your career by identifying new contacts in other companies or discovering new job opportunities.
Related: Networking Tips for Job Seekers
It's important to stay updated with the latest news on economic policies, laws and regulations, including new advancements in financial technology. This may help you perform better in your job. You can achieve this by subscribing to regular updates on financial newsletters, academic articles or attending conferences relevant to your field.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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