Economists provide information and advice to government, industry and commercial institutions, helping them formulate operational policies and strategies. Their theoretical knowledge of economic market forces is coupled with research and analysis of raw statistical data to produce written and verbal reports for a wide range of purposes. The work can be very pressurised, and may involve work on several projects simultaneously.
Economic research varies according to the sector in which they work. They may gather information on regional, national and international economic trends in the labour market, commerce and industry, health, education and social policy, inflation, taxation and other financial issues, consumer spending and political decisions. Mathematical modelling and other techniques are used to interpret this information and produce forecasts, and the possibilities for economic development are then determined and evaluated.
Based on their findings, economists advise on probable future economic performance and such issues as competition, import and export, interest rates and investment, and the impact of energy and transportation costs. They also highlight the likely consequences of different courses of action. This advice may be used to change the way goods and services are delivered, alter the way businesses operate, and to look at general resource-planning issues.
Economists may work alongside other professionals, senior managers and government officials. Many are involved in academic roles, teaching in universities and conducting research into developing current economic and social theory. A number of economists work in an administrative or technical capacity for international organisations such as the European Union, the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund.
Economists typically work normal office hours, frequently longer when deadlines must be met. Flexible working arrangements and part-time positions may be available with some employers.
The work is office-based, and conventional business dress is expected. Some travel may be required, perhaps overseas depending on the work being undertaken.
To be an economist you should:
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Financial Services Skills Council
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