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Economist

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Summary of occupation

Economists study and predict trends and changes in financial, labour and trade markets. They study economic factors, such as taxation levels, wage rates, employment figures and exchange rates, and use their findings to prepare forecasts and provide advice to businesses and governments on possible courses of action. Economists may study the broad global economic situation, providing advice to governments and multinational corporations, or they may examine the economy of a single, small firm to provide advice on how to maximise profits and determine the level of demand for a product or service.

ANZSCO description: Performs economic research and analysis, develops and applies theories about production and distribution of goods and services and people's spending and financial behaviour, and provides advice to governments and organisations on economic policy issues.
Alternative names: Economic Analyst, Economic Market Analyst
Specialisations: Agricultural Economist, Econometrician, Economic Forecaster, Environmental Economist, Financial Economist, Health Economist, Industrial Economist, Labour Market Economist, Mineral Economist, Taxation Economist
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An economist needs:

  • to be good at mathematical and statistical analysis
  • good written and verbal communication skills
  • to be able to work both independently and as part of a team
  • good organisational and time-management skills
  • to be able to confidently make decisions.
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Working conditions

Economists work in office environments in businesses, government departments and universities, usually in the Perth metropolitan area. They usually work regular office hours, however when working to a strict deadline, e.g. when annual reports are due, overtime may be necessary. Economists often conduct research and write reports independently, however, in larger organisations they may work as part of a team - each member may specialise in a particular field.

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Salary details

On average, economists can expect to earn between $1 731 and $2 692 per week ($90 000 and $140 000 a year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an economist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.   ​

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Tools and technologies

Economists use computers to conduct research and prepare reports. They must ensure that they keep their knowledge of economic issues current, such as interest rates and import and export figures, which requires them to read regular reports from government departments and other economists. To examine economic trends, they must also be able to use historical data, so that they can map changes over time and make predictions about future movement.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an economist you usually have to complete an undergraduate degree in economics or a related field, such as actuarial science. Postgraduate qualifications may improve your employment prospects.

​Most Western Australian universities offer degrees in this field. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.​ 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Economist Video Economist Occupation

Performs economic research and analysis, develops and applies theories about production and distribution of goods and services and people's spending and financial behaviour, and provides advice to governments and organisations on economic policy issues.

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