10 Economics Careers to Power Your Future

Industry Advice Business Science & Mathematics

A career in economics can be more diverse than you might first imagine. Economics is more than stocks, finance, banking, and government. Most jobs in economics don’t even have the word economics in the title. So, what is economics, and what type of work do economics professionals do?

Economics is a discipline focused on understanding the science of human behavior and using it to shape the world around us. 

Because economics is vital to our everyday lives, it should be no surprise that its job outlook is more bull than bear. The demand is expected to be strongest in the private industry, particularly with scientific, management, and consulting services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports job opportunities will be best for individuals with strong quantitative and analytical skills, related work experience, and advanced degrees. 

Your educational qualifications and experience, as well as local market factors, can influence your job opportunities and salary potential. Keep reading to explore a sample of the many paths you can take in your economics career.

Advance Your Career with a Master’s in Economics

Combine theory with practice to prepare for a career contributing to social, economic, and environmental change.


What Can You Do with an Economics Degree?

A master’s degree is the gateway to hundreds of job opportunities spanning the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, as well as academic research. In the world of economics, a master’s degree is typically the entry-level education required for an economics career. With an advanced degree in economics, you also have the opportunity to edge your foot in the door of leading companies and be uniquely positioned to move up the ranks quickly. 

Economics graduates work in a variety of industries, including:

  •   Anthropology
  •   Banking
  •   Business
  •   Consulting
  •   Financial services
  •   Government
  •   Law
  •   Nonprofit
  •   Public policy
  •   Research
  •   Urban planning

Fortunately for aspiring professionals, there’s no shortage of paths you can take in your economics career. You can shape public policy at one of the preeminent think tanks in the country, help economically underdeveloped areas worldwide learn how to thrive, or work as an advisor on Wall Street. Your path to success is wide-open.

Top 10 In-Demand Economics Careers

These 10 lucrative and growing economics jobs will put you on a clear path toward success.

1. Securities Trader

Median Annual Salary: $143,899

Securities traders invest and sell securities for clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies. They’re responsible for the success of these transactions and use their economic knowledge and foresight to make sound decisions. This fast-paced job requires strong communication and writing skills and lots of energy, as they spend their days contacting market makers to execute client orders, prepare financial reports to monitor corporate finances, and review securities transactions.

2. Financial Manager

Median Annual Salary: $139,790

This is a classic job for business economics majors since it involves analyzing market trends to reduce a business’s costs and increase its profits. Financial managers also devise strategies to help companies expand. An undergraduate degree is the bare minimum requirement, but most employers look for candidates with a master’s degree and five-plus years of experience in the financial field. And, the future remains bright. The number of available financial manager jobs is projected to grow 16 percent through 2032. 

3. Economist

Median Annual Salary: $113,940

Economists study how society uses limited resources, such as land, water, raw materials, and human labor, to satisfy their needs and wants. They then take the insights they learn to forecast market trends, build economic models, and present their findings to senior managers. Like many other master’s in economics jobs, this career requires excellent inductive and deductive reasoning skills.

4. Lawyer

Median Annual Salary: $135,740

Lawyers can impact a wide range of issues, such as law, business, and finance. General job duties can range from representing clients in court to performing research on legal issues. Because legal work often requires finding patterns and inconsistencies in large amounts of information, lawyers with an advanced degree in economics can excel in the field.  

5. Actuary

Median Annual Salary: $113,990

Actuaries, like other master’s of economics jobs, handle data and deal with matters of probability. They examine data for specific situations, especially disasters like floods. Then, they figure out the probability of these events happening in specific regions. They typically work for entities like insurance companies, helping to determine their prices and coverage options. With projected job growth of 23 percent by 2032, the future for actuaries looks promising.

6. Data Scientist

Median Annual Salary: $144,250

Data scientists collect, interpret, and publish data to help support economic decision-making. The data they find often applies to finances or productivity in the business world. For example, a data scientist may look at sales figures against business decisions made over a specific time frame to determine how successful those decisions were. These professionals provide the forecasting knowledge a business needs to know whether changes will be significant before deciding. Data scientists working in this discipline may have a master’s degree in economics and work in various industries, such as IT, healthcare, finance, retail, or marketing.

7. Management Consultant

Median Annual Salary: $123,704

Management consultants propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. Among the master’s of economics jobs, management consultants are one of the most important for private businesses. They analyze economic trends and business practices, and they advise business owners on maximizing their earnings while minimizing their risks.

8. Mathematicians and Statisticians

Median Annual Salary: $110,984

Mathematicians and statisticians analyze data and apply mathematical and statistical techniques to solve real-world problems in business, engineering, healthcare, or other fields. They typically work in conjunction with other professionals to interpret numerical data to determine or project outcomes and needs, whether statistical or mathematical. Jobs in this field are projected to grow a whopping 30 percent by 2032.

9. Budget Analyst

Median Annual Salary: $90,750

Budget analysts evaluate budget proposals to determine the optimal allocation of project funds. They’re responsible for reviewing budget proposals and requests for funding, evaluating spending needs, conducting cost-benefit analyses, and other duties. Budget analysts are well-versed in statistical modeling and are expert mathematicians. Beyond their quantitative skill set, they also need to petition and persuade management to approve their requests, requiring good communication and interpersonal skills.

10. Pricing Analyst

Median Annual Salary: $87,681

Pricing analysts have to juggle many tasks. They combine economic data with marketing research and use it to determine the ideal prices for certain products and services. The business owners who employ pricing analysts want to know how they strike the right balance in their pricing and maximize their profits without alienating potential clients. Pricing analysts help them find that balance.

Take the Next Step in Your Economics Career

As industries continue to evolve rapidly, there’s a growing need now more than ever for skilled professionals with advanced degrees in economics to lead the way. If you’re interested in advancing your economics career, explore Northeastern’s program page to learn more about how earning a Master of Science in Economics can help.

This article was originally written in 2020 and has since been updated for accuracy.