11 Best Jobs with an Economics Degree (Told by Econ Graduate)

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by John-Paul Cody

Updated

After graduating with an economics degree, I was amazed how many doors it opened.

Today, there are more jobs with an economics degree than ever due to their in-demand skill set involving analytical and problem solving skills, to name a few.

Now that I’ve been in the workforce a few years, I’ll share the highest paying jobs for economics majors, and extra tips for econ grads to be successful.

11. Auditor

There is almost always a need to take an in-depth look at financial books to see if everything is going OK — or what can be improved. In fact, this can be a fantastic extra way to make money for accountants.

Both businesses and individuals might need the services of an auditor, although businesses usually need them more often.

Being an auditor can be very rewarding knowing that you’re helping a business or individual solve a problem that could be costing them lots of money.

Average Salary: $62,055 (Payscale)

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10. Data Analyst

Data analysts organize data, analyze it, generate insights, and share those takeaways with stakeholders. Data analysts can work in virtually any industry, because there’s no industry that doesn’t leverage data in some fashion.

If you become a data analyst you’ll never ask yourself is an economics degree worth it, because the skills are so transferable.

Having worked as a data analyst for a number of years, it’s one of the best jobs for economics majors due to how well the curriculum and job responsibilities align. If you enjoy finding trends in data that drive real impact on people’s lives, this could be the career for you.

Average Salary: $74,387 (Glassdoor)

Tactic for Success:

To be successful in this job, it’s important to not only focus on the numbers, but what the actual impact is on the business/people. This is why the concept of “data storytelling” was born. Learn how to tell good stories with data, and your career growth will surprise you.

9. Jr Data Scientist

Data scientists wear many hats including, programming, statistics, and business acumen. Few curriculums better prepare someone for data science than economics, due to the heavy focus on these topics.

Programming might be a gap for some, but luckily there’s plenty of great online learning resources such as Free Code Camp.

The day to day will involve creating models to solve or predict business problems, and then sharing insights with stakeholders. But keep in mind, the data scientists interview process can be tough, so make sure to plan accordingly.

Average Salary: $82,344 (Glassdoor)

Trend on the Rise:

Data scientists are the 3rd best job in America according to a recent Glassdoor study, which explains the number of people flocking to this career. The only jobs ahead of DS careers were full stack engineers and enterprise architects, both of which are also in the tech sector.

8. Business Analyst

If you become a business analyst, no two days are exactly the same.

In this kind of job, your main responsibility will be recommending ways that you can improve a business or organization’s efficiency.

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You likely travel to meet with clients, draft financial reports and business plans, and make recommendations via presentations.

This might even feel like a project management role at times, so having strong organizational skills will be key in this role.

Average Pay: $87,660 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Trend on the Rise:

The top paying companies for business analysts are large technology companies (e.g. Amazon, Adobe, Upwork, Netflix, Intel, etc). Fortunately, even if you don’t live within driving distance of these companies, business analysts are remote friendly careers, so you can still target the top paying businesses.

7. Marketing Strategist

Marketing blurs the line between creativity and mathematics. In the past it was more creative driven, but today data is a vital part of every marketing strategy.

With an economics degree, you’ll be equipped to build and analyze marketing dashboards to create marketing strategies for businesses. It’ll be important to brush up on working in marketing beforehand to see if this field interests you.

Average Salary: $88,620 (Glassdoor)

Tactics for Success:

To improve your chances of landing a marketing strategist job, spend some time familiarizing yourself with digital marketing methods (SEO, paid search, email marketing, affiliate, etc). Learning popular marketing metrics will go a long way in interviews as well, such as ROAS, conversion rate, and bounce rate.

6. Analytics Consultant

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Analytics consultants work on a wide range of data driven projects across various industries. Consultant positions are fast paced and help you develop a wide breadth of skills due to the frequency of new projects.

An analytics consultant role is typically more demanding than a data analyst role, since you would be dealing with outside clients vs departments within your organization. However, these positions are highly compensated in return.

Although most analytics consultants earn around $90k, it’s possible to land a job that pays over $300k with enough experience at top tech companies or finance firms.

Average Salary: $89,641 (Glassdoor)

5. Investment Banking Analyst

Investment bankers are people who sell equity or issue debt in companies, helping clients with things like mergers and acquisitions.

As an investment banker, you might also give advice on investment opportunities like derivatives. Many econ graduates gravitate to this career post graduation due to the high earning potential.

Although experience is a huge plus when it comes to landing a job, there’s a chance you could find work as an investment banker as long as you’ve taken the proper steps to network and connect with businesses while you were still in school.

Investment banking is notoriously high stress, so this type of role is not a recommended career for people with anxiety.

Average Salary: $90,345 (Indeed) 

4. Statistician

A statistician develops and applies mathematical or statistical theories to gain and explain useful information and solve real-world problems.

It’s a popular route for economics majors due to emphasis on math curriculum in school. It could also be one of the better jobs with a biochemistry degree.

Statisticians are incredibly useful in multiple industries, like engineering, business, and science. There’s a large gap in the market for people who are willing and good enough to do this job.

Average Salary: $91,160 (USNews)

3. Actuary

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An actuary utilizes statistics and math to assess insurance risks. It may not sound wildly thrilling, but this career touts some impressive benefits.

In fact, actuaries were ranked in the top 10 best careers in 2019, due to increasingly high job satisfaction and salary.

Actuarial work is best suited for math minded people, a natural fit for econ majors.

Actuaries also take a series of exams in their early years, requiring them to stay brushed up on industry policies and best practices.

In summary, it’s well known to be a low stress job that tackles interesting problems. Don’t miss these other high income skills.

Average Salary: $94,200 (PayScale)

2. Economist

If you’re an economics major, you’ll already be familiar with economists and what this career entails. On paper, it’s the job you’d be the most qualified for, however, studying economic issues everyday won’t be for everyone.

Economists usually work for governmental agencies, startups, and research firms.

The day to day will feel similar to many of the exercises from the classroom, but of course the stakes will be higher.

Average Salary: $101,454 (Indeed)

1. Private Equity Consultant

Private equity consultants help analyze investment opportunities for financial firms. Oftentimes the success of the firm lives or dies by the analysis and forecasting executed by consultants. So, this line of work is high stakes and well compensated in return.

Economics graduates will frequently use statistics and modeling techniques learned in school to assess investment opportunities.

Average Salary: $109,861 (Glassdoor)

Tactic for Success:

Most PE consultants recommend starting in investment banking or similar role to break into private equity. However, if you are driven to go straight to private equity, it’s recommended to target smaller firms and get your foot in the door through internships while in college.

Wrapping Up

I’ve been in the workforce for several years now as an economics grad, and believe it set me up with fantastic career opportunities.

Although the highest paying jobs for economics majors may not be for you, there are lots of careers in adjacent industries that still pay very well.

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About the Author

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John-Paul Cody is the creator of Trends & Tactics, with the mission of helping people demystify entrepreneurship and money so they can live life on their terms. John-Paul has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill, and currently works in data analytics and marketing.