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Occupational Profile

Economist

Economists conduct research, monitor data, analyze economic information, and prepare reports and plans. They analyze economic conditions, develop models to explain, forecast and anticipate future problems and opportunities, and offer ideas for solutions and new initiatives.

  • Avg. Salary $116,299.00
  • Avg. Wage $57.42
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Econometrician, Research Scientist, Social Scientist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Economist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts
NOC code: 4162
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 21, 2016

In general, economists:

  • devise systems for collecting economic and statistical data regarding economic resources, how those resources are utilized, and the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services
  • develop models for projecting economic and related activities
  • compile, analyze and interpret results from a wide range of economic data and activity
  • help others interpret economic data
  • write reports to inform policy development and decision making in government or business.

The work is essentially interpretive and analytical in nature, with an increasing emphasis on analyzing and comparing data from other economies as well as Canada's economy, and on evaluating the costs and benefits associated with alternative courses of action. Specific duties vary depending on the economist's area of specialization and 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, industrial organization, natural resource or environmental economics, health, labour, urban and regional, or agricultural economics.

Agricultural, natural resource or environmental economists work for government, industry or industry associations, often specializing in a particular 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 particular commodities
  • estimate the non-market benefits and costs associated with the use of natural resources
  • forecast future 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 primarily on statistics, mathematics and economic theory to develop, among other things, methods of forecasting economic variables and explaining economic behaviour. They usually work for government or large business firms. In general, they:

  • investigate all areas of economics and use complex mathematical models of the economy for the purpose of analyzing economic relationships and forecasting key economic variables
  • produce forecasts of particular economic parameters which can be used for study, analysis, policy development and decision making.

Financial economists work for government, banks, investment firms, insurance companies and other financial institutions. Large industries often employ economists interested 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; stock, bond and other financial markets; the movement of interest, inflation and exchange rates; and other money market developments
  • provide advice on the financing of capital requirements and the placing of investments.

Government-employed economists usually work in specialized areas in federal, provincial and municipal government departments, particularly in treasury and finance departments. In general, they:

  • perform cost-benefit analyses to determine how tax dollars should be spent to maximize the benefits to taxpayers (especially for capital projects)
  • study employment, inflation, tax policy, tariff and trade policies, specific industries, energy and environmental policies, social programs and assessment of the need for policy change and, if required, potential alternatives
  • monitor social and political trends and policies, and their impact on the economy.

Industrial or business economists typically work for large businesses and major industrial enterprises and, in general:

  • provide and interpret data on economic conditions and trends to assist management in making marketing decisions and analyzing production and investment alternatives
  • 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 effects of government policies and regulations and international agreements on business
  • advise management regarding business strategies.

Labour or industrial relations economists work for unions, associations, employers and governments and, in general:

  • study labour supply and demand, wages and hours of work, cost of living, labour market discrimination and worker productivity
  • study the effect of labour legislation, employment insurance, industrial accident provisions, welfare plans, education, collective bargaining, trade unions and industrial factors on the labour force and the economy
  • recommend ways to improve arbitration and conciliation techniques for settling labour disputes.

University and college economists usually:

  • teach courses in economics, finance and business
  • conduct research to improve understanding of how the economy works and the behaviour of stakeholder groups in the economy
  • publish their findings for review, analysis and use by others.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 21, 2016

Economists work in offices, often using computers and large databases to compile and analyze data. Some work from offices in their homes.

Working conditions can vary significantly over the course of the year. 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 21, 2016

Economists need the following characteristics:

  • strong mathematical, statistical and analytical skills
  • an interest in current affairs
  • an above average ability to use plain language to express complex ideas, in person and on paper.

They should enjoy developing innovative methods and economic models, analyzing information and making economic forecasts, advising others, finding solutions to problems and being part of decision making in government and business activities.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 21, 2016

An honours bachelor's degree in economics is sufficient for research assistant positions. A master of arts (MA) degree in economics usually is required to become a professional economist. Teaching positions at the post-secondary level require a doctoral (PhD) degree.

Admission to master's degree programs requires an acceptable average in the last 2 years of a related 4-year bachelor's degree program (preferably, an honours program).


Related Education

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

MacEwan University

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 21, 2016

Economists work in many sectors of the economy but usually are employed by:

  • large organizations in finance, business and industry
  • universities and colleges
  • 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 are employed as economic consultants to advise business, industry, government, labour and others. Some economists work for consulting firms or 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 in this occupation will be 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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • 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 21, 2016

Salaries vary considerably in this occupation. Economists often earn more after promotion to managerial positions.

Economists and economic policy researchers and analysts
NOC code: 4162

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 $27.40 $79.18 $45.60 $39.55
Overall $36.63 $91.00 $57.42 $55.18
Top $42.93 $110.00 $69.57 $72.12

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.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

15%
15%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

2%
2%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Information Processing
    • Management and Marketing
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 21, 2016

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 09, 2016. 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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