Financial services

Career outlook for economist

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would help governments to develop policies and businesses to plan financial strategies for the future.

You’d do research and analyse statistics. You’d look at issues like how much people earn, how much things cost and how people spend their money.

You’d apply economic theory to come up with ideas about what’s happening in the economy and what it might mean for the future. You’d explain your ideas clearly and simply to people with less technical knowledge than you.

You could work for a government department, a business, a bank or another organisation.

You would:

  • Research information from computer databases, websites, journals and newspapers
  • Look at past and present economic issues and trends
  • Create mathematical models to predict future developments
  • Analyse statistics
  • Produce reports
  • Present findings to your employer or client
  • Write reports for the media
  • Examine the effectiveness of current policies
  • Advise on the potential economic impact of policies and ideas

If you work in a university you may also teach students as well as doing research.

Working conditions


You would typically work standard office hours Monday to Friday, although flexible and part-time work may be available with some employers.


The work is office-based.


You may need to travel in the UK and possibly overseas, depending on the projects you were working on.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Working with numbers
  • Researching
  • Social conscience
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management
  • Analysing

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


You would need a first or second class honours degree (SCQF 10). Some employers require postgraduate qualification (SCQF 11).

Though you can apply for this job with any degree, courses with a numerate, finance and/or business focus and with units in economics or development studies can be particularly helpful.

To enter an economics degree requires National 5 qualifications and Highers at BBBC or above or a relevant HNC/HND.

To enter a finance/economics postgraduate qualification usually requires a degree in a related discipline at 2:1 or above and/or relevant work-based experience.


Useful subjects

  • English (required by most employers and courses)
  • Maths (required by most employers and courses)
  • Accounts
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • ICT subjects
  • Business
  • Social subjects

You will also need

Once in the job you may find it useful to join a professional body such as the Royal Economic Society or the Society of Business Economists.