Students interested in majoring in economics may be enticed as it is the 32nd highest-paying bachelor’s major, with a mid-career salary of $100,000 according to PayScale. While the level of degree a student chooses to pursue will result in their overall job qualification, entry-level options in this field are numerous. Economics majors can find work in multiple areas such as academics, business, and government. The most recognized position in this field is perhaps the economist, but other options include market research analyst, product manager, benefits administrator, actuary, and financial planner.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the employment rate for economists is expected to increase by 6 percent through 2016 to 2026. The median pay as of 2016 is an hourly wage of $45.58, and a yearly salary of $101,050. Employment opportunities range from federal, state, and local government to corporations and research firms. The duties of an economist consist of conducting surveys, collecting data, advising, and predicting and interpreting market trends. Market research analysts also monitor and predict trends. Analysts have a median salary of $62,560. They can be found working in scientific, management, and technical consulting services. Completing work on a team is not uncommon for this position.
One of the highest-paying jobs for economics majors is a product manager. This position has a 10 percent expected increase, and median pay of $127,560. The three occupational avenues a manager can pursue are promotions, marketing, and advertising. Organizational, analytical, and communication skills are necessary for a product manager to have. They play an indispensable role in the financial success of organizations, and their services remain highly sought after by experienced professionals and even other managers. A benefits administrator follows suit regarding high pay in the field of economics, earning a median annual pay of $116,240. Five or more years work experience is usually required for this position, and it has a 5 percent projected increase. The main duty of an administrator is managing a company’s employee benefits program. Programs are conducted according to government regulations and current market trends to ensure legality and competition.
Actuaries earn a median annual wage of $100,610. A large 22 percent increase is estimated for the position. An actuary analyzes the risk of financial costs and events by using mathematics, statistics, and financial theory. Most employment options are provided by insurance companies, and they typically work on teams comprised of managers and various professionals in an office setting, though travel may be required to meet the needs of clients. Financial planners also work in the insurance industry. $90,530 per year is the reported median pay of 2016, and the career has a predicted 15 percent increase. Financial planners provide individuals with advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, retirement, taxes, and college saving. Those not working in insurance or finance are self-employed and may meet clients on evenings or weekends.
These are by no means the only job opportunities with an economics degree. Others include:
- benefits manager
- policy analyst
- financial managers
- personal financial advisors
- management analysts
- economic consultant
- credit analyst
- financial analyst
- management consultant
- data scientist
- operations research analyst
Many of these career options will benefit from professional certification and an advanced degree, which will develop your analytical skills, decision-making, and leadership. Internships will help you jump from entry-level jobs to high-paying jobs at higher levels.
Your career path will be clearer as you gain more years of experience and real-world know-how as well. The more you learn about topics like financial services, economic trends, investment decisions, statistical analysis, macroeconomics, data analysis, and forecasting, the better your job outlook will appear.