Career Profile: Economist
You might sometimes wonder why you have to study mathematics at school. What’s the use of all of those percentages and averages that you have to calculate? These concepts might not be useful in many jobs, but they are essential for economists. Every day, economists use complex mathematical skills to help governments and businesses plan for the future.
In 2011, Canada had about 15,000 economists working in a variety of places, including government offices, businesses, and other organizations. In some ways, economists do the same kinds of work as accountants often do. They work with budgets, prices, and how to make money. However, economists tend to work on bigger issues than these.
For economists, the issue that people face is not just how much money to charge for a product or service but also how that fee might affect other aspects of the economy. For example, an economist might analyze how an increase in fuel prices can affect the cost of transporting food from farms to the cities and how that might affect food bank usage and other parts of society.
Economists work with the trends that influence how people spend money and what affects factors such as prices and resource use. They use statistics to analyze trends in society and to predict what might happen in the future. They also have to know how laws might change various aspects of the economy. Economists might study public transit usage before and after a price increase or analyze how salaries in certain jobs affect house purchases. Economists need to understand numbers, but they also have to be able to see the larger trends.
Becoming an economist involves knowing a lot about mathematics but also about how people and the economy work together. Most economists have at least a bachelor’s degree in their field, but most have a master’s or Ph.D. Even after they graduate, economists have to keep on learning. They read magazines and other publications related to their work and they find out what other economist think. Reading statistics on how Canadians live is an important part of their work, since that gives them the information they need to make accurate predictions about the future. This can sometimes be a challenge, especially when the information is difficult to find or is unavailable.
Many economists work for the government, but they also work for large businesses to help the owners plan for the future. The average salary for an economist in Canada is $80,000 to $100,000, but most jobs start at a lower level and some can rise to a higher level. Experience is very important in this field, since it can be very important to learn about how different factors work together. Job prospects in this profession are limited, but there will likely be some openings in the next few years.
If you love numbers but you also enjoy seeing how everything works together, you might want to consider becoming an economist. Your work might affect Canadians for years to come.