Types Of Economists: Work Environment, Job Role And Salary

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An economist plays a vital role in policy development and predicting future trends for business decisions. They use mathematical models and look at large datasets to provide information that helps change labour laws, tax laws, interest rates, inflation or trade policies. The role involves using resources effectively by applying mathematical and statistical models. In this article, we look at the different types of economists, find out the skills required and learn how to become one.

Types of economists

Knowing about the types of economists is useful for aspirants. An economist is a professional who analyses societies and the relationship between them. They use this information to predict future trends and help organisations make better business decisions. They provide their opinions on tax laws, labour policies, interest rates, international trade policies and policymaking. These professionals work in the public and private sectors and have a broad scope for specialisation. Some of the different types of economists are:

Micro-economists

Micro-economists focus on studying and analysing things that work on a small scale. It includes understanding how businesses and individuals conduct, interact and benefit from each other. Additionally, it involves studying the supply and demand patterns and finding ways of maximising production.

Macroeconomists

Macroeconomists study and analyse the overall long-term trends that affect the economy. They understand the economy-wide phenomena like inflation, economic growth, gross domestic product (GDP) and unemployment rates. Identifying the market trends and government policies helps them conclude their effects and suggests ways to improve them.

Financial economists

Financial economists study the stock market and analyse the banking system. They oversee research and create reports related to a company's financial status. Additionally, they help predict future trends and develop monetary policies. Financial economists use economic theory to assess risks and opportunities across a variety of financial and equity portfolios.

Related: What Does A Financial Analyst Do? (Duties And Career Advice)

International economists

International economists study global markets, the exchange rate and its effects on their home country. They analyse trends and identify challenges in global services, trade, investment and policy. Understanding all this data helps an international economist contribute to trade policies and operations that benefit their country.

Industrial economists

Industrial economists focus on organisations and industries. They analyse organisational structure, assets, competition and suggest methods to improve profits. In addition, they deal with industrial activity on a large scale and try to protect it from monopolies.

Labour economists

Labour economists study labour-related policies that affect employees before, during and after their working lives. They understand the economic conditions, the demand and the supply of labour by employers. They research the wages, benefits, discrimination and working hours to understand the effects on an employee and their career growth.

Related: What Does A Risk Manager Do? (How To Become One And Skills)

Public finance economist

Public finance economist studies the role of a government in the economy. They examine the government revenue, expenditure, policies and devise ways to achieve desirable results. A public finance economist analyses the allocation of resources, distribution of wealth and aids the government in a stable economy.

Econometrician

Econometricians use calculus, regression analysis and game theory to develop mathematical models that analyse economic relations. They probe various data sets to model outcomes and make predictions based on statistical studies. They often work at universities, banks and other financial institutions.

Academic economist

Academic economists teach students at schools and universities. They simultaneously work on research projects to test existing economic models, data sets and predict future economic growth. University economists receive financial assistance from sponsors to carry out their research.

Skills required in an economist

An economist may develop several niche skills depending on the organisation and industry. There are specific skills that every economist possesses. Here is the skill set that helps an economist perform at their job:

Communication skills

Economists interact with people from private organisations or the government for their research. They present their findings to stakeholders for discussion and implementation. To effectively perform their duties, an economist requires good listening, speaking and presentation skills.

Related: A Guide To The 7 C's Of Communication

Critical thinking

Economists review data, analyse patterns, perform crucial mathematical calculations to solve problems. They help in framing policies and thinking from a holistic perspective. They identify strengths, weaknesses and alternative solutions to assess a situation and act rationally.

Organisational skills

Economists process an enormous amount of data and information for their research. Developing good organisational skills helps them work efficiently and keeps their workspace and information organised. It also helps them work and oversee large teams.

Related: Organisational Skills: Definition And Examples

Mathematical skills

Economists assess financial reports, conduct research using methods like calculus and regression. They analyse and interpret all the data and use statistical information to predict future trends. Mathematics is one of the core subjects an economist excels in and it is critical to the job they perform.

Policymaking

Economists handles policymaking in a country. They discuss national debts and deficits, analyse monetary policies and anticipate the results. Policymaking involves making regulations to reduce risks in times of financial crises.

Writing skills

Economists prepare multiple reports and presentations that summarise their research. They report their findings in a way that is easy for various stakeholders to understand. Writing is part of the day-to-day routine of economists and developing this skill can help them excel at work.

Related: 10 Tips To Improve Your Writing Skills

Computer skills

Economists gather data, analyse it and present their opinions through research papers. To successfully do this, many economists work using various computer software, spreadsheets and presentation decks. Sometimes, they also create presentations for stakeholders, making efficient computer skills crucial to their portfolio.

How to become an economist

The following steps illustrate how you can become an economist:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree in economics or any other related field like mathematics, finance or business management is necessary to become an economist. To pursue this degree, it is necessary to select subjects like mathematics, accounting and economics in your higher secondary school. It helps lay the foundation for the bachelor's course. While pursuing the bachelor's degree, you learn economic theories, macroeconomics, microeconomics, statistics and econometrics. In addition, you can take classes on finance, accounting and business policy.

2. Gain experience

While pursuing your bachelor's degree, it is ideal to gain experience through internships. These internships can be in private firms, government offices, NGOs, or even assisting professors in your research. Internships help you gain practical experience and understand the industry better. It makes you aware of the industry standards and the work environment in which economists perform their daily duties. Additionally, internships also provide an opportunity to expand your network and interact with industry specialists.

3. Earn a master's degree

A master's degree helps obtain a deeper understanding of the subject and hone your skills. Some courses that you can specialise in include Master of Arts in economics (MA), Masters of Science in economics (M.Sc), Master of Commerce (M.Com), Bachelor of Law (LLB) or even a Bachelor's in Education (B.Ed). Apart from this, you can pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to gain a foundation in business knowledge. These courses help improve your career prospects when compared to holding only a bachelor's degree.

4. Seek work opportunities

The kind of opportunities you look for depends on the specialisation chosen while pursuing your master's degree. As an economist, you may get opportunities in research, educational institutions, corporates, financial institutions and even the government. It's vital to gain a few years of work experience and grow your network before considering changing your career paths. Additionally, it is essential to upskill at every job role you decide to pursue.

The work environment of an economist

An economist works in a corporate office, bank, financial institution, university or with the government. They work for a fixed number of hours over the week, but may work extra hours to meet critical deadlines. They usually work in an office environment, independently or as a part of a team. The work pressure is high as economists conduct their studies within strict deadlines. While travelling is not necessary, many economists may do so to collect data through surveys or focus group discussions for their projects.

The average salary of an economist

The average base salary of an economist is ₹7,76,684 per year. It varies depending on the education, experience and specialisation of the economist. The industry they work for and the geographical location of the job also influence the salary of an economist.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Explore more articles