Career options for Economics researchers
Find out about the different career options available if you're undertaking research in Economics
Broadly speaking, your options are the same as those for researchers in other disciplines; see the career options pages for more details. The aim of this page is to look at some career options that may be particularly suitable for economics researchers. One important question to ask yourself is the extent to which you want to use your subject in any future career moves. It's entirely your choice - you will have acquired and developed many skills during your PhD which are complementary to the research skills you might think define your career choice.
If you'd like to remain working in your discipline and would like some ideas as to how, see details of what previous Bath Economics doctoral graduates have gone on to do.
This covers the most obvious choices (research, academia and employment as an economist). If you want to work as an economist/economic consultant, you can apply for roles that are open to all graduates and do not specify a higher degree. Even when a higher degree is not specified, employers often value the additional knowledge, and skills gained from undertaking a postgraduate qualification. Some economist vacancies may ask for a Masters or PhD. The Bank of England has a specific entry level for PhD Economists. Work experience is highly valued for economist roles. For more information on working in economic analysis and research, see the 'Information Sources' section below.
You could use your economic skills and knowledge in broader contexts; options related to your subject include civil servant (e.g. with the Treasury), financial risk analyst, investment analyst, chartered accountant and statistician. The role of quantitative analyst, which usually requires a PhD in a quantitative subject, involves using research and analytical skills to design financial models used in trading and assessing financial risk. Quantitative analysts are employed in financial institutions including banks, hedge funds and investment banks. For more information on this role, view the Finance Train website and the Banking Blog on The Guardian website.
You might want to move out of the Economics sector, but still use your social science background. There are many occupations in which your PhD would be valuable, including management consulting, which involves helping organisations to solve problems and improve business performance. Management consultancies value the high level research and problem-solving skills of PhD students, and some companies, such as Mckinsey and The Boston Consulting group, have specific entry routes for PhD students. Some management consultancies and the larger financial services firms, including Deloitte and PwC, provide specific economic consultancy. Other areas might be human resources, which concentrates on employment policy and regulations, or market research.
To find out more about what these jobs involve, see the 'Information sources' section below.
Options outside of your subject
If, having got to this stage, you're not sure that you want to use your Economics any more, don't despair! You have many skills and experiences that are highly valuable to employers and you can choose from the huge range of graduate jobs on offer, from structured training with large financial services firms to management training with well-known retailers and manufacturers. The key is to think of the skills you have and enjoy using, and explore occupations that use them to suggest possible alternatives. For information on different types of jobs, explore the occupational profiles on the Prospects.ac.uk.
Some key resources to help you research career options for economists:
- To find out more about academic career pathways in Economics, see the career options for researchers page and talk to academics in your department.
- Prospects.ac.uk - see especially the Options with Economics leaflet.
- Careers for those studying economics (Careers Service helpsheet).
- Institute of Risk Management.
- Royal Economics Society.
- EDIRC- list of economics departments, centres and research institutes worldwide.
- Market Research Society - has job postings, careers advice and networking events.
- Civil Service Fast Stream - entry route into the Government Economic Service (GES) is through the Analytical Fast Stream. If you want to work for the Government Statistical Service, entry is via the Analytical Fast Stream or through the main graduate entry programme. There is also a Graduate Scheme for HM Treasury.
- ESRC/HEFCE guide to careers with quantitative methods.
- Society of Business Economists.
- University of Oxford Guide to working for think tanks.
- University of Oxford Guide to Working in Government and Public Administration.
- Management Consultancies Association. Organisation representing consultancy industry. Includes careers resources and vacancy listings.
Where to look for jobs in Economics and related fields
- See the vacancies page for academic, research and research-related jobs.
- For academic jobs worldwide and information about conferences in Economics, it's also worth looking at Inomics. The Royal Economic Society also has information about academic jobs, conferences, and an annual meeting event where doctoral students can meet potential academic employers.
- Careers Service MyFuture database - look at the vacancies relevant to your subject area and also in the sections 'For PhD Students' and 'For Postdocs'. As Bath is highly targeted by the financial and consultancy sectors, this is likely to be an excellent source of opportunities. Use the 'organisations' function to identify potential employers that you may want to work for or could approach speculatively.
- Check out the Prospects.ac.uk Employers and vacancies sections for Economists, Statisticians and Financial Risk Analysts.
- EfinancialCareers is a good starting point for jobs in investment banking, financial risk and quantitative analysis.
- Jobsgopublic contains a wide selection of jobs throughout the public sector, including education, health, local and central government and charities.
- Local Government Jobs.
- Office for National Statistics. Regularly has vacancies for both statisticians and social researchers to design and analyse the many surveys it carries out.
- The EU Institutions recruit centrally through the European Personnel Selection Office.
- Social Research Association - has a jobs section.
- Policy Library - has job postings, information about policy areas and a World Directory of Think Tanks.
- Third Sector Jobs - jobs in the charity sector.