Economists work for a wide range of different employers, both in the public and private sectors.
Government departments and agencies
The Government Economic Service (GES) is the UK's largest employer of economists, employing more than 1,400 professionals in over 30 departments and agencies. They recruit around 120 economists a year.
The Office for National Statistics is currently the fastest growing employer of economists in the UK.
Investment banks and other financial institutions
The Bank of England has two core purposes – monetary stability and financial stability.
It works closely with a range of other organisations to achieve those aims. It offers a range of internships and graduate programmes.
A think tank is a group of experts who provide advice and ideas on specific political or economic problems.
Consultancy UK has recently listed its top 50 global private sector think tanks and research firms.
Higher education institutes
Academic institutions employ researchers and lecturers who specialise in the field of economics.
Visit Jobs.ac.uk to investigate roles being advertised. You can also speak to academic staff at Nottingham for advice.
Typically, not-for-profit organisations are charities or other types of public service organisations. The Charities Commission website provides a searchable list of charities registered in the UK.
Economic consultancies work with businesses, regulators and policy makers to evaluate and implement strategic decisions. They often specialise in a particular sector or area of economic expertise. Vault has produced a list of 20 top consultancies.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administers the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) programme which provides hands-on experience to young professionals.
The World Bank offers a range of programmes and internship programmes such as the World Bank Analyst Programme.
The Prospects economist job profile gives a detailed overview of the responsibilities of an economist alongside a list of specific work project examples.
Visit recruitment sites such as Economist Jobs to get an idea of available jobs and their responsibilities.
Entry-level roles are often at associate or analyst level, with progression to forecaster or modeller after four to five years. Job titles might include 'Economist', 'Economic Researcher', 'Associate Economist' or 'Analyst'.
If you're particularly interested in statistical and mathematical analysis, the role of Econometrician might suit you. Visit the Supply Curve job board to investigate.
Finding a job
Entry routes and recruitment processes
For larger organisations, e.g. banks, government agencies, etc. entry is often through a structured graduate training scheme, with application deadlines as early as October or November for opportunities starting the following summer or autumn.
For smaller employers such as consultancies or not-for-profit organisations, recruitment will take place as and when needed. Networking here is hugely valuable.
Entry is likely to be a highly competitive process so relevant work experience will be beneficial.
Most employers of economists will expect a masters qualification unless you have relevant work experience.
However, entry is possible with an undergraduate economics degree, usually at 2.1 or above, particularly on graduate training schemes. For example, the GES doesn't require a masters qualification.
International organisations such as the Overseas Development Institute run a range of prestigious economics-related programmes and internships. Many of them include a masters or PhD in their entry requirements.
A PhD will be a requirement for academic research roles within higher education institutions.
A successful economist can extract and analyse data and convey complex ideas in an accessible and productive way.
This requires excellent written and oral skills and close attention to detail. Strong IT skills are also important to facilitate the use of analytical and statistical programs.
You will work to tight deadlines and prioritise workload, while building productive relationships with a variety of colleagues.