“An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.”

Laurence J. Peter, Writer

Pros and Cons of Working as an Economist

advantages and disadvantages of being an economist

You think about becoming an economist?

Wait until you read all the pros and cons of being an economist in this article.

Only then will you be able to make a profound decision regarding whether a career as an economist will be suitable for you or not.

Economist Job Profile

Short Job DescriptionEconomists usually work for large banks, corporations or research institutions. They analyze the world-market economy and try to see the world in a larger picture. They also try to conduct research that can be used for proper investment decisions and for the long-term success of companies.
Salary$100,000 per year on average, most economists make between $75,000 – $235,000 per year.
Job SecurityDecent job security.
Job SatisfactionRather poor since you will have plenty of stress.
Work-Life BalanceYou will have to work long hours and your work-life balance will be rather poor.
Physically / Mentally Demanding?Mentally demanding job.
Future OutlookGood since economists will always be needed and extensive education is required.
RequirementsCollege degree.

Advantages of Being an Economist

  1. Economists can work in many different fields
  2. You can work indoors
  3. Working as an economist can be interesting
  4. You can analyze latest market trends
  5. You can contribute to the long-term success of your company
  6. Being an economist can also help you in your private life
  7. Economists can make decent money
  8. Good social standing
  9. Easy time in the dating market for economists
  10. Plenty of promotion opportunities
  11. Economists will always be needed
  12. Teleworking is possible in many big companies
  13. Good job prospects due to high barriers to entry
  14. Economists can work with many different departments
  15. You can share your ideas on social media

Economists can work in many different fields

One important advantage of being an economist is that you can work in many different fields.

Economists are needed in research departments in banks or corporations as well as in public institutions or central banks. Of course, these are just a few examples.

Job opportunities for economists are almost endless since you will learn so many skills during your studies that are quite valuable in the job market.

This also means that you will have great freedom of choice regarding where you want to work after your studies.

It also gives you the opportunity to switch fields pretty easily.

For example, say you are no longer satisfied with the working conditions of the company you currently work for.

In such a case, you can just apply at many other companies and chances are that you will be able to find a new job pretty soon, at least if you have chosen courses in university that are in high demand like econometrics, statistics and other mathematical-heavy disciplines.

You can work indoors

Another upside to working as an economist is that you can also work inside all day long.

You will usually work in an office and will not leave it until your workday will be over.

While many other people will have to work outdoors in the cold, you will be in a pretty comfortable position since you will be protected from heavy snow, rain and the cold in general.

You can even use air conditioning in summer to make your office life as comfortable as possible.

Many people would love to switch jobs with you due to the fact that you can control your working environment while others just have to work under extreme conditions outside.

Working as an economist can be interesting

As an economist, you will also get the opportunity to work on many important projects.

You will also do plenty of research during your career.

Since the world is changing with rapid speed and will likely speed up even more in the future, chances are that you will never get bored since you will always have new things to do and also your overall approach to things will change over time.

For instance, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, you will be able to outsource many tasks to a computer that can greatly assist you in your analysis.

In turn, chances are that your research will become much more profound since the risk of errors can be minimized.

Apart from the many chances of AI, there are for sure also some risks and challenges related to it.

However, it will make your work life as an economist more interesting for sure and you should really be looking forward to the next years and decades.

You can analyze latest market trends

Economists are often also responsible to analyze latest market trends.

In fact, you as an economist will be the one who will prepare many research papers and who always has to keep up with latest news.

For example, your research paper that you have published just one week ago may already be outdated since some news completely changed the overall situation.

This means that you will always have to stay up-to-date with latest developments and market trends and you will therefore also have great responsibility since many other departments will make decisions based on your analysis.

For instance, the investment department of banks will often rely on the analysis of economists working in the research department and you will therefore play a crucial role for the overall investment success of the company you work for.

You can contribute to the long-term success of your company

The work of economists is not only crucial for the long-term success regarding investment decisions, it plays an important role for the long-term success of the company in general.

Economists often try to figure out how the world will look in many years or even decades in the future and only if those analyses are correct, your company will get a competitive advantage in the market.

Hence, you will also have a significant effect on the overall success of the company you work for as an economist and this can make your job pretty exciting.

Being an economist can also help you in your private life

Another benefit of becoming an economist is that it can also greatly help you in your private life.

You can not only acquire plenty of knowledge in university and in the companies you work for, but you will also be able to use this knowledge for your private investment strategy.

Sure, insider trading is still not allowed.

What I mean is that you will always be up-to-date regarding publicly available information and you can use this knowledge that you will already acquire and process at work for your own long-term investment success.

Hence, while most other people have no clue about what’s going on in the investment world, you will have the opportunity to get a great advantage in this regard as an economist.

Economists can make decent money

You can also make pretty good money as an economist.

In fact, the average salary of economists in the US is around $100,000 per year and chances are that this figure will continue to grow in the future.

There are even economists out there who make much more than that, especially if you work in investment banking or consulting and have a few years of experience.

Consequently, you will also be able to afford some luxury as an economist and a career as an economist can also make quite a lot of sense if money is really important to you.

Good social standing

Economists not only make pretty decent money most of the time, they also have a rather high social standing.

In fact, if you become a leading expert in your field, you may be able to attend exclusive events and conferences. You may even be able to speak on TV and can raise public awareness of many important topics.

Easy time in the dating market for economists

By becoming an economist, you will also have quite an easy time in the dating market.

Due to your high social status and the good money you can make from your job, potential partners will not be hard to find.

In fact, many economists have the freedom of choice regarding whom they want to date and marry and this can make your life just so much easier in the long run.

Plenty of promotion opportunities

If you work as an economist, you will also get many promotion opportunities over time.

In fact, if you are good at what you are doing and are willing to work hard, chances are that you will get promoted into a leading position sooner than in most other fields.

Some economists even become partners of big consulting firms after just 10 years and this means that you may be able to enjoy a pretty fancy lifestyle already in your 30s.

Economists will always be needed

Although our world is changing at rapid speed, economists will always be needed since they are often the ones who analyze latest market developments and if there are more changes in a given period time in the future, this also means that more data has to be analyzed and more work has to be done by economists.

Thus, economists will also enjoy relatively high job security.

Teleworking is possible in many big companies

Since you will work in a classical office job as an economist, you will also be able to work from home in many big companies.

This will give you a great level of freedom since you will have the opportunity to pick up your kids from school or do other things at home. You will also be more flexible regarding when to work.

Of course, you will still have to participate in important virtual meetings.

Yet, your overall workday tends to be more relaxed at home and also gives you a greater level of freedom to organize your private life.

Good job prospects due to high barriers to entry

As an economist, you will also not have to be that afraid that you will lose your job in the future.

As we have seen before, economists will always be needed to analyze what’s going on in the world.

Since you will also need extensive college education to become an economist, barriers to entry in this field are pretty high and not that many people will also have the mental capacities to become successful in this field.

Consequently, if you are a smart guy and are willing to work hard on yourself, chances are that you will not have to worry about becoming unemployed in the future.

Even though this might happen, you will still be able to find a new job pretty soon.

Economists can work with many different departments

Working as an economist also requires you to work with many different departments since you have to collect large amounts of data to carry out proper forecasts and to analyze the overall situation and market position of your company.

This also implies that you will get the chance to talk to many important people in your company and this enables you to build a really strong network in the long run.

Strong business networks are crucial for the success in a company and also in an industry in general and you should not underestimate this additional benefit of working as an economist.

You can share your ideas on social media

If you are really passionate about what you are doing and you still have plenty of energy left after you finished your job, you can also become active on social media channels and forums and share your latest ideas and impression of how the world economy is currently doing and whether we should expect a financial crisis in the near future or not.

Some leading economists do exactly that and this can also be great for you if you want to build your own personal brand and want to become a real expert in your field.

Disadvantages of Being an Economist

  1. You need to go to college for many years to become an economist
  2. You may have to go into student loan debt
  3. Economists often work many extra hours
  4. Weekends are not always off
  5. Rather poor work-life balance
  6. Burnout can be a problem
  7. You have to work in classical office jobs
  8. You may get fired during economic downturns
  9. Economists always have to stay up-to-date
  10. Being an economist may become boring if you are just in for the money
  11. Many economists suffer from overweight
  12. Working as an economist can be stressful

You need to go to college for many years to become an economist

Now that you got all the advantages of working as an economist, it is time to talk about the downsides related to this career path.

For instance, one problem with being an economist is that you need to go to college for many years. You have to get at least a bachelor’s degree for becoming an economist.

Many big corporations even require a master’s degree.

Hence, make sure that you are prepared to go this extensive educational path and that you are also willing to invest plenty of money for tuition and other expenses related to college.

You may have to go into student loan debt

Many people are also not able to get a degree in economics without going into student loan debt.

In fact, in our current state of the world, it is quite common that people finance their degrees by taking on large amounts of debt that they have to pay back later on in their lives.

While this can make your time in college more relaxed, it can lead to significant financial issues later and you should really ask yourself whether a college degree will be worth it to take on this debt.

Economists often work many extra hours

Another disadvantage of working as an economist is that you will often just not have a standard workweek.

9 to 5 will be the exception rather than the norm and you will often have to work many extra hours as an economist.

Especially if you want to make really good money, you often work in labor-intensive fields where you work 60 hours per week or even much more.

Thus, make sure that you are also willing to work that many extra hours since you will just miss out on many other nice things in your life.

Weekends are not always off

You will not only work long hours many days of the week, but you will even be forced to work weekends in some companies.

Especially if there are important meetings on Monday and there is still plenty of work to do, chances are that you will be the one who will be sitting in front of his or her computer on Saturdays or even Sundays while your friends will enjoy their leisure or make nice weekend trips with their families.

Rather poor work-life balance

In general, economists often have a rather poor work-life balance.

Since you will always have to analyze latest data and also have to take into account latest developments, your thoughts will often stay at work even though you have already left your office.

In fact, many economists have difficulties to unplug from their work and this can also affect your private life in a pretty negative manner.

Burnout can be a problem

Due to the heavy workload and the many extra hours economists often have to work, they are also at significant risk of burnout.

Sure, this also greatly depends on the company you work for.

Some economists may also have a rather relaxed life.

However, if you really want to get into a leading position and want to earn really good money, chances are that you will have to work like crazy and many people burn out sooner or later.

You have to work in classical office jobs

You will also have to sit in front of a computer screen for many hours or even for the whole day if you work as an economist.

While some people like this working environment, most people just don’t like it at all.

You will also have to prepare many presentations which will turn out to be completely irrelevant for the success of the company you work for.

This can be quite unsatisfying and many economists also report a rather poor satisfaction with what they are doing at work.

You may get fired during economic downturns

While economists can make really good money during economic upturns, they can also get fired pretty soon in financial crisis situations.

In fact, many banks and other corporations cut their expenses in such times and you as well-paid employee will be at greater risk of being fired than many other people in your company.

Economists always have to stay up-to-date

As an economist, you will also never be able to relax.

Even though you might be really good at what you are doing, technological progress always changes the way we perceive the world and also our overall working conditions.

This means that you may become obsolete in the future if you are not willing to adapt to those changes and if you don’t develop your skill set in this regard.

Being an economist may become boring if you are just in for the money

Many economists also get bored after a while.

Sure, in the beginning, everything seemed to be exciting and people had been really happy with their jobs.

However, after many years, it can be really exhausting to work as an economist if you are just in the game for the money.

Thus, make sure that you really have a passion or at least a deep interest for economics before going for this career path.

Many economists suffer from overweight

Another downside of becoming an economist is that you may also suffer from overweight or even obesity in the long run.

Since you will work in a classical office job for long hours every day, you will just not get the opportunity to exercise enough.

If you want to avoid getting overweight, you may need to go to the gym and this can also be really annoying since you will have to stay long hours at work and spending leisure for going to the gym instead of doing something fun.

Working as an economist can be stressful

In general, working as an economist can also be really stressful.

Due to the long working hours and the high workload, many people quit after a while or become mentally sick since they are just not able to deal with all those things in an emotionally healthy manner and also struggle to accept the absence of a personal life.

Top 10 Being an Economist Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being an Economist ProsBeing an Economist Cons
Economists can earn really good moneyBeing an economist can be stressful
Being an economist can be interestingRather poor work-life balance
You can work with many departmentsYou may even have to work on weekends
Economists can work in many fieldsBurnout is rather common
You will play an important roleYou will have to work long hours
Economists have a high social standingYou have to work in an office job
Easy time in the dating marketEconomic downturns can be problematic
Good promotion opportunitiesYou have to adapt to technological changes
Teleworking may be possibleOverweight can be an issue
Can also help you for your private lifeYou may become bored in the long run

Should You Become An Economist?

As you can see, there are many important advantages and disadvantages of being an economist.

Now that you got all the pros and cons, it is on you to decide whether you still want to pursue this career path or if you rather want to go for alternative job options instead.

If you want to learn even more about being an economist, you should also get detailed information on the salary, career prospects, future outlook, working hours, educational requirements and job satisfaction of economists.

Also make sure to check out the following articles:

Advantages and disadvantages of working as a financial controller

Advantages and disadvantages of working as an accountant

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economist

https://www.statista.com/statistics/252838/employment-of-the-us-forest-products-industry-2012/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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