Economics Degree Job Prospects and Career Options

If you a planning to study Economics at a top university, your Economics degree job prospects may be quite different from what you have imagined. Unfortunately, jobs that actually make use of Economics theory is quite limited compared to Accounting or Finance. Hence, studying it will not give you an edge in most professions apart from the analytical skills you gain.

So where do Economics graduates from top universities work? Below you can find popular BSc. Economics career paths, based on university statistics and the perspective of a BSc. Economics degree alumni at LSE. The career option likelihood indicates your chances of getting into the sector, which depends on how competitive the role is, and the number of graduates they hire. Apart from which university you study at, Economics degree job prospects can also be heavily influenced by internships you acquire at university.

Ready to apply for a BSc. Economics programme? Be sure to check out our Economics Entry Requirements Table to compare grade requirements, and download our sample Economics Personal Statement which received offers from LSE, Warwick, Bath and Bristol.

BSc. Economics degree job opportunities:
1. Investment Banks
2. Consultancies
3. Big Four (or Audit Firms)
4. Commercial/Retail Banks
5. Other Career Paths

Investment Banks

Career Option Likelihood: Low/Medium
Top Company Examples: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank
Investment banks are where 90% (or a least a big majority) of Economics/Finance students from top schools originally aspire to work at. In particular, they focus on client-facing jobs with the highest salaries. This would include IBD (raising capital for corporations through IPOs, equity and bond offerings), asset management (managing investment funds of institutions), wealth management (managing wealth of individuals), sales & trading (of financial securities) roles and more. Sadly, it is ridiculously competitive with most students failing to receive a job offer/interview if they lack the right internship opportunities. In the end it is not a job for everyone anyway. This is because of the role’s long hours, high pressure and ‘up or out’ culture. A more realistic destination within an investment bank will be its non-client facing functions (company operations, compliance and regulations, etc.).

Consultancies

Career Option Likelihood: Low/Medium
Top Company Examples: McKinsey, Bain and Company, BCG, OC&C, Oliver Wyman
Similar to investment banks, this is likely the second favourite option of top Economics/Management/Finance graduates. With high starting salaries, diversity to work with different companies/industries, and a ‘travel culture’, it can be alluring for Economics graduates to advise corporate clients in various aspects. The actual advise being given can span many different functions (e.g. strategy, operations, risk) and industries (e.g. F&B, tourism, financial services). Thus, the nature of the job depends on your team and your client. Again, competition to get into the industry is high, as well as heavy workload in addition to having to travel to the client’s office.

Big Four (or Audit Firms)

Career Option Likelihood: Medium/High
Top Company Examples: PwC, EY, Deloitte, KPMG
The Big Four audit firms provide a wide range of professional services to business clients. It ranges from accounting, audit and tax services to giving advice on company risk, valuation, and corporate mergers. There are also career opportunities to work as a management consultant in the company. Competition in getting a job at the Big Four is comparatively lower than the two options above, but does depend on your role. Quite a few Economics graduates will go down an accounting/audit path by working in other audit firms. They would eventually get the ACCA accounting professional qualification, and eventually work in finance divisions of large companies.

Commercial/Retail Banking

Career Option Likelihood: Medium/High
Top Company Examples: Lloyds, Natwest, HSBC, Co-Op Bank
Commercial and retail banking are focused on helping individuals and companies with banking services. This may include loans, transactions, small investments, amongst others. Some Economics graduates end up as relationship managers, who are responsible for encouraging well-off premier banking customers to buy investment products. Others may be looking to encourage SMEs to utilise their banking services more. There are also analyst roles available, which again, would likely make use of financial knowledge more than Economics.

Other Career Paths

Career Option Likelihood: Low
There are other job opportunities for top Economics graduates that a small minority pursue. This ranges from working as Economic advisors (private and public sector), to graduate schemes, or becoming a teacher/academic. The reason most Economics graduates do not become Economists in the public or private sector is because job opportunities are rare. This is compared to the hundreds of job opportunities offered by Big Four companies each year. It is possible to apply for graduate schemes in multinational corporations, but most graduates do not feel comfortable venturing outside of Economics/Finance. Finally, the remuneration received from working in graduate schemes or in teaching / academic positions are lower compared to finance-related roles. Hence, there is a significant opportunity cost in pursuing something different and unpopular compared to the above positions.

What career opportunities do you wish to go for after finishing a BSc. Economics degree? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and discuss Economics degree job prospects with your friends!

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