Working economists

Educational Requirements

An honors bachelor's degree in economics is sufficient for beginning research or assistant jobs. Graduates of four year Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs with a major in economics who have taken the relevant honors courses may also obtain employment as apprentice economists. However, a Master of Arts (MA) degree in economics is usually necessary for anyone interested in a career as a professional economist. Master's or doctoral (PhD) degrees are required to teach at the post-secondary level and for advancement to senior positions.

Employment and Advancement

Economists work in many sectors of the economy but are usually 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, others are self-employed.

Economists are part of the larger "Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts" occupational group.  In Alberta, over 75 per cent of people employed in this group work in the following industries:

  • Public Administration
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Oil and Gas  
  • Utilities
  • Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.

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.