International Study Centre

Career Options with Economics: Top 7 Careers in Economics

Student studying on campus

Economics teaches you to look at the world differently – to understand how societies allocate resources, make choices, and prioritise needs and wants. It equips you with the ability to analyse data, understand trends, and foresee market dynamics. These skills are invaluable in today’s data-driven world, opening up a range of diverse career options with economics.

Job opportunities in economics are plentiful and varied. Whether your interest lies in public sector policy-making, financial consulting, or international trade, a background in economics provides a strong foundation.

If you’re considering a career in economics, you’re not just choosing a subject – you're opening a doorway to a rewarding, lucrative career that can shape your future and the world around you. Read on for our pick of the best roles for a career in economics.

What can you do with an economics degree?

If you’re considering an economics degree, this is probably because you’re interested in jobs in economics. Major advantages of starting your career by studying this subject include developing highly sought-after skills in communication, analytical thinking, software proficiency, and numeracy. Graduates often find themselves in roles within the civil service, banks, consultancies, and in insurance and accounting firms.

Whether your passion lies in influencing public policy, driving business strategy, or contributing to economic research, job opportunities in economics are wide-ranging and varied.

A degree in economics at the University of Sussex will equip you with skills and provide you with practical experience that set you up to explore the many career options with economics. Throughout your studies, you'll have the opportunity to engage in academic research, internships, student organisations, events and conferences.

These experiences, along with options for part-time jobs, developing quantitative skills, and exploring study abroad programmes, will leave you ready for a career in economics.

7 top careers in economics


A career as an actuary is ideal for those who have a flair for mathematics and a keen interest in managing financial risks. Actuaries work primarily in insurance companies, consulting firms, and government agencies. Using mathematical and statistical methods, actuaries are experts in calculating insurance premiums, pension fund liabilities, and quantifying various other financial risks.

As an actuary, you'll find yourself at the intersection of finance, statistics, and economics, playing a crucial role in shaping financial strategies and policies – an essential component of the modern economic landscape.


A career in economics could also involve becoming an economist. Economists analyse economic data, conduct thorough research, and provide valuable insights into trends, policies, and forecasts.

Economists are in demand across various sectors, including government agencies, research institutions, non-profit organisations, consulting firms, and financial organisations. This role is crucial in advising on economic development strategies, understanding market behaviours, and aiding decision-making processes.

Working as an economist is one of the most rewarding job opportunities in economics, emphasising the importance of economics in our world today.

Data scientist

A career as a data scientist is a dynamic and highly sought-after path for those with an economics background. In today's data-driven world, data scientists play a critical role, collecting, analysing, and interpreting large and complex datasets. They apply statistical techniques, leverage machine learning, and utilise advanced programming skills to solve complex analytical problems.

This role is integral to various industries, including technology, finance, healthcare, and e-commerce. The skills developed in an economics degree – particularly in quantitative analysis, critical thinking, and economic modelling – are highly transferable to a career in data science.

Market research analyst

Pursuing a career as a market research analyst is an excellent choice for those with a knack for understanding consumer behaviour and market trends. In this role, you help organisations make informed business decisions by studying market conditions and industry trends.

Work involves conducting detailed surveys, analysing data, and producing comprehensive reports on market potential and customer preferences. These insights are crucial in shaping product development, marketing strategies, and overall business planning.

Market research analysts typically find work in businesses such as market research firms, advertising agencies, and marketing departments.

For international students considering job opportunities in economics, a role as a market research analyst offers a blend of analytical challenge and practical impact.

Securities trader

Securities traders are responsible for buying and selling financial instruments like stocks, bonds, and commodities. They work on behalf of clients or their firms, always staying abreast of market trends and financial news to make timely and profitable trading decisions.

Securities traders typically work in investment banks, brokerage firms, and hedge funds. As a securities trader, you'll have the opportunity to directly apply economic theories and models in a real-world setting, making it a fulfilling job opportunity in economics for those who thrive in a high-stakes, high-reward environment.

In this role, you will need to be adept at analysing market data, understanding economic indicators, and making quick, informed decisions. The fast-paced nature of this job requires not only a keen understanding of the markets but also the ability to remain calm under pressure.

Operations research analyst

Operations research analysts oversee streamlining decision-making processes, addressing complex problems in supply chain management, logistics, resource allocation, and scheduling.

Operations research analysts work across diverse industries. In manufacturing, they enhance production efficiency; in transportation, they optimise routing and scheduling; within healthcare, they improve patient care logistics; and in consulting, they provide strategic solutions to varied business challenges.

Financial manager

Financial managers play a pivotal role in guiding the financial health of organisations. As a financial manager, you will oversee various financial functions, including budgeting, financial planning, and risk management. Your role is integral in steering a company's financial strategy, ensuring its profitability and sustainability.

Day-to-day responsibilities involve analysing economic trends, scrutinising market conditions, and interpreting financial statements to make informed, strategic decisions. This role requires a deep understanding of financial principles and an ability to forecast future financial scenarios, making it a perfect fit for those with a major in economics.

Financial managers are sought after across various sectors, from banking to corporate finance and investment management, making this a lucrative career option with economics.

Study at the University of Sussex

Ranked 14th in the UK for Business and Economics according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject 2024, the University of Sussex is an excellent choice for international students aiming for a career in economics. Studying at Sussex not only signifies obtaining a degree, but also offers you the opportunity both to deepen your understanding of the importance of economics and to explore job opportunities in economics post-graduation.

The University of Sussex International Study Centre offers both an International Foundation Year in Business, Humanities, Science and Engineering and a Pre-Masters Programme in Business, Humanities, Science and Engineering, both of which can lead to further study of economics in the UK. Before applying, it is helpful to make yourself aware of the entry requirements for these courses, as well as important visa information and the University fees for international students.


Is economics a good career?

Yes – a career in economics offers a wide range of opportunities across sectors like finance, consulting, government, academia, and research. It's a field that develops your analytical and problem-solving skills, equipping you to significantly influence economic outcomes and contribute to societal welfare. With solid job prospects and stability, a career in economics promises continuous intellectual growth and the ability to adapt to an ever-evolving global economy.

What is the scope of studying economics?

The scope of economics is vast. Economics is not just about understanding how money moves; it's about comprehending how societies operate, how decisions impact communities, and how resources are best allocated. Why study economics? The importance of economics lies in its ability to shape policy, forecast trends, and drive sustainable growth.

Is it hard to study economics?

Studying economics can be challenging due to its analytical nature and the necessity for strong quantitative skills. It involves grappling with abstract concepts, economic theories, and their real-world applications. However, with dedication and practice, the complexities of economics become rewarding, paving the way for a multitude of job opportunities in economics.