We live in a data-driven world, and the need for skilled individuals who can dig into that data and help companies, government agencies and other organizations pull meaning out of that data are in high demand. That’s why a degree in economics carries such a promising outlook for graduates seeking high-paying careers in everything from marketing to finance.

A bachelor’s degree in economics opens the door to analyst positions where graduates will be asked to perform fundamental research, data analysis and presentations that help companies develop products, assist government agencies in assessing economic conditions and help think tanks release research and craft policy.

Skills and Demand for this Degree

Growth in demand for professionals with economics degrees is strong. In 2010 (the midst of the Great Recession), growth in demand for market research analysts with economics degrees was projected to rise 41%! That signals that certain sectors of the economy, like finance and marketing, are hungry for economist who can crunch the data and give them meaningful guidance.

  • Economics & Finance: Many economists work for government agencies, banks, investment firms, consulting agencies and a host of businesses seeking their analytical and financial knowledge. They understand how financial systems work and what factors in the world can affect financial outlook, both for whole countries and individual sectors of the economy.
  • Society & Politics: An economics degree prepares people to understand the ways in which culture, societal trends and political action can affect the economy. Knowing how to spot these types of trends enables economists to spot business opportunities and help their organizations prepare for economic change.
  • Written Communication: Knowing how to translate highly technical statistical information and trends for non-technical audiences is extremely valuable. No matter how brilliant your analyses are, it won’t help your organization unless you can get those ideas across to other team members.
  • Statistical Analysis: Forecasting statistical data, whether it’s related to taxes, prices, stock prices, employment data, interest rates or marketing trends, is one of the most prized skills that an economics degree offers.
  • Research Skills: Collecting and analyzing data is only part of the battle for many economists; you need to be able to connect that data to its real-world and historical contexts. That means doing research to uncover information, doing surveys and digesting the raw research that academics and professionals are producing.

Salary Prospects for Economics Grads

While salary differs greatly depending on your level of experience and education (adding a master’s degree will help you earn more, for instance), which sector of the economy you choose to go into can also affect how much you earn with your economics degree. You can earn a high median salary with these careers and others that only require a bachelor’s for entry-level opportunities:

  • Compliance Managers ($100,890)
  • Economists ($89,450)
  • Financial Analyst ($74,350)
  • Market Research Analyst ($60,570)

The sectors that are seeing the biggest growth are in finance, accounting, technology and other high-growth industries. They all need economists to help them handle the big data that represents trends critical to the future of their businesses and the economy at large.

The Future

Economists pursuing careers in finance and market analysis are likely to see rapid job and salary growth over the next five years and beyond. Highly technical degrees in economics are likely to remain in demand for a long time, particularly because universities are not graduating enough individuals to meet current demand, let alone increased demand projected for the future.