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Economist

Economists consider how individuals value goods and services and how markets and other mechanisms allocate resources. They conduct research, monitor data, analyze economic information, and prepare reports and plans. They analyze potential impacts of changes in policy or economic conditions. They develop models to explain, forecast, and anticipate problems and opportunities. And they offer ideas or policies as solutions and new initiatives.

  • Avg. Salary $94,332.00
  • Avg. Wage $48.64
  • Minimum Education 5 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,700
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Data Scientist, Econometrician, Industry Analyst, Market Analyst, Policy Analysts, Research Scientist, Social Scientist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts (4162) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts (E032) 
  • 2011 NOC: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts (4162) 
  • 2016 NOC: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts (4162) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

35%
35%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Economist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts
INNOVATIVE

Interest in conducting research and developing models to analyze, explain and forecast economic behaviour and patterns; in devising methods to collect and analyze data; and in studying the nature of money, credit and credit instruments, and the operations of banks and other financial institutions in order to develop monetary policies and forecasts of financial activity

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to monitor economic data and regional and local economic trend; to forecast the production and consumption of renewable resources and supply, consumption and depletion of non-renewable resources; to forecast production and consumption of specific products and services based on records of past production and consumption and general economic and industry-specific conditions; and to prepare forecasts of income and expenditure, interest rates and exchange rates

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to advise government agencies on policies to increase economic activities; in conducting research on market conditions in local, regional and national areas to set sales and pricing levels for goods and services, and to assess market potential and future trends

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

In general, economists analyze data about economic resources and how they are used. Some economists who work in academia devise systems to collect this data. Economists also:

  • Develop systems to collect data on the production, distribution, and consumption of goods
  • Develop models to project economic and related activities
  • Compile, analyze, and interpret results from a wide range of economic data and activity
  • Evaluate outcomes and risks of business, investment, and public policy decisions
  • Assess impacts of fluctuating commodity prices (oil, for example) on market trends
  • Analyze how changes in policy and economic conditions affect the economy and cause social changes
  • Help others interpret economic data and present information to diverse audiences
  • Write reports and provide advice to government or business agencies to help them develop policy and make decisions

The work tends to be interpretive and analytical. There is growing emphasis on analyzing data from other economies and comparing it with Canadian data. There is also emphasis on assessing the costs and benefits of different courses of action. Specific duties vary with the economist’s area of specialization and their employer.

Economists may specialize in areas such as money and banking, consumer economics, financial economics, public finance, monetary and fiscal policy, international trade and finance, and industrial organization. Other specialties include natural resources, the environment, health, labour (urban and regional), and agriculture.

Agricultural, natural resource, or environmental economists work for government, industry, academia, non-government organizations (NGOs), or industry associations. They often focus on a specific or closely related group of resource commodities. In general, they:

  • Monitor and analyze trends in prices, supplies, and demand, including the impact of economic activity and regulatory changes on certain commodities
  • Monitor and evaluate macro- and microeconomic impacts of environmental policies, such as climate policy, on emissions and jobs
  • Estimate the market and non-market benefits and costs associated with using natural resources
  • Forecast prices and supplies, crop sizes, and the effects of various policies

For more information, see the Environmental Economist occupational profile.

Econometricians specialize in a branch of economics that relies on statistics, mathematics, and economic theory. With these tools they develop methods of forecasting economic variables and explaining economic behaviour. They most often work for government, academia, or large business firms. In general, they:

  • Explore all areas of economics, using complex mathematical models of the economy to analyze economic relationships and forecast key variables
  • Produce forecasts of specific economic parameters to use for study, analysis, policy development and decision making

Financial economists work for government, academia, banks, investment firms, insurance companies, and other financial institutions. Large industries often employ them for their expertise in macroeconomics, money and banking, and domestic and international finance. In general, financial economists:

  • Study overall economic, financial, and monetary conditions to analyze economic activity and forecast trends
  • Monitor and analyze factors affecting the money supply, including:
    • stock, bond, and other financial markets
    • the movement of interest, inflation, and exchange rates
    • other money market developments
  • Provide advice on financing capital projects and placement of investments

Government-employed economists tend to work in specialized areas in federal, provincial, and municipal governments. They often work in treasury and finance departments. In general, they:

  • Perform cost-benefit analyses to determine how to spend tax dollars to maximize taxpayer benefits (especially for capital projects)
  • Study employment, inflation, tax policy, tariff, and trade policies, specific industries, and energy and environmental policies
  • Assess the need to change policies affecting social and regulatory programs and propose alternatives
  • Monitor social and political trends and policies, and their impact on the economy
  • Forecast sources of government revenue and future economic growth

Industrial or business economists tend to work for large businesses and major industrial enterprises. In general, they:

  • Provide and interpret data on economic conditions and trends to help management make marketing decisions and consider alternative ideas for production and investment
  • Study regional and national economic activity, foreign trade and capital flows, and capital markets
  • Perform cost-benefit analyses and feasibility studies for industrial projects
  • Analyze the ways government policies and regulations and international agreements affect business
  • Advise management on business strategies

Labour or industrial relations economists work for unions, academia, associations, governments, and other employers. In general, they:

  • Study labour supply and demand, wages and hours of work, cost of living, labour market discrimination, and worker productivity
  • Study the way labour legislation, employment insurance, provisions for industrial accidents, welfare plans, education, collective bargaining, trade unions, and other industrial factors affect the labour force and economy
  • Suggest ways to improve arbitration and conciliation techniques for settling labour disputes

University and college economists may specialize in one or two fields of economics. They often collaborate with scientists from other fields. They most often:

  • Teach courses in economics, finance, and business
  • Conduct research to improve understanding of how the economy works and how individuals and groups in the economy behave
  • Assess the effectiveness of various policies
  • Publish their findings for others to review, analyze, and use
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Economists work in offices. They often use computers and large databases to compile and analyze data. They sometimes need to do field work. Some work from home offices.

Working conditions can vary over the year. At rare times, such as when key decisions are pending or economic events are affecting business or government, economists may work long hours, under pressure to provide accurate, timely analyses.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Economists need:

  • Strong mathematical, statistical, and analytical skills
  • Computer programming abilities that may include Structured Query Language (SQL) Python, Stata, or other languages
  • An interest in current affairs
  • An above average ability to express complex ideas in plain language, in person and on paper
  • The ability to present information to diverse audiences

They should enjoy developing innovative methods and economic models, analyzing information, and making economic forecasts. They should be comfortable advising others, solving problems, and taking part in government and business decision-making.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

A bachelor of arts (BA) degree in economics, with honours, is enough to work as a research assistant. A position as a professional economist tends to require a master of arts (MA) degree in economics. A doctoral (PhD) degree is the usual requirement for post-secondary teaching and some research positions. Some prestigious companies or institutions require their economists to hold a PhD.

Admission to MA programs requires an acceptable average in the last 2 years of a related 4-year BA (preferably honours) program. A typical MA in economics is 1 year, though some niche programs require 2 years.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grant MacEwan University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Economists work in many sectors of the economy, but most work for:

  • Large organizations in finance, business, and industry
  • Universities, colleges, and research centres
  • Municipal, provincial, and federal governments, and Crown corporations
  • Private consulting firms
  • Large international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund

Many economists work as consultants, advising business, industry, government, labour, and others. Some work for consulting firms, while others are self-employed.

Economists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4162: Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts. In Alberta, 77% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Salaries for economists range widely. Economists often earn more after being promoted to management.

Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $26.65 $76.92 $41.23 $38.43
Overall $27.20 $82.05 $48.64 $46.12
Top $28.74 $85.87 $53.61 $50.38

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

35%
35%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

14%
14%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

1%
1%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Canadian Economics Association website: www.economics.ca

Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) website: cfee.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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