An economist is someone who studies economic issues such as supply and demand, savings and investments, and international trade. In general, the term economist is applied to a person who has a PhD in economics, teaches economic science, and has written in a field of economics.
Being an Economist. What does an Economist Do?
Economists conduct research and apply economic analysis to the ways society uses resources like land and other raw materials to produce goods and services. Their research could focus on topics like energy costs, inflation, interest rates, farm prices, rents, imports, or employment.
Additionally, economists study and monitor historic trends to make forecasts on a wide variety of issues, including energy costs, inflation, interest rates, exchange rates, business cycles, taxes, and employment levels, among others.
Economists develop various methods for obtaining the data they need. Sampling and statistical techniques may be used to conduct surveys and to develop forecasts. An integral part of an economist’s job is preparing reports, including tables and charts, on research results. Economists also write articles for publication in newsletters and academic journals.
It is up to economists to present economic and statistical concepts in a clear and meaningful way for those who do not have a background in economics. Governments, businesses, and other individuals fully rely on economists to design policies and make recommendations to solve economic problems.
History of Economists
Since Economics is the science of how goods and services are produced and consumed, its history dates back to the time when trading first began in the world. However, Adam Smith(1723–1790), Scottish social philosopher and political economist is regarded as The Father of Economics. He used the ideas of French writers and expanded it into a thesis on how economies should work.
Since then, several influential economists like John Maynard Keynes, F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Lawrence Robert Klein, Carmen Reinhart among others have contributed significantly to the field of economics.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Being an Economist
As with any job, there are ups and downs to pursuing a career as an economist. Let’s take a look.
Advantages of Being an Economist
Economists are assets to society given their high ability to influence the standard of living of an average man on the street. Their importance is undeniable. Let’s break down a few of the advantages of being an economist
1. Critical and Independent Thinking
Critical thinking is particularly important in today’s era of the internet filled with information overload and fake news. And economists are critical thinkers. They will always be sceptical of facts. Their independent thinking allows them to undergo their analysis.
2. Jobs Available in Multiple Industries
Economists can choose to work in a wide range of industries like government, management, research, etc. Since economists are required in almost every filed related to monetary transactions, there is a high demand in a diverse range of jobs.
3. Several Specializations
Within the economics major, students can choose from a broad range of specialized fields. Some possible specializations include economic statistics, environmental economics, applied microeconomics, and economics of education, among others.
Economists have a higher average salary than most others. Since economics majors provide a valuable service and people are willing to pay a little extra for it. According to the BLS, economics professors earned an average of $114,820 per year in 2017, while economists earned an average of $112,650.
5. Social Tools
These days, influential people talk a lot about economics. You need at least some economic knowledge to be in their social circle. These prominent businessmen or influential politicians talk about economics, interest rates, oil price, etc all the time.
6. Social Influence
People from all walks of life will respect you if you are an experienced & knowledgeable Economist. Be it a small office or huge international gatherings and political campaigns, economists play a great role. Some economists even have the power to manipulate the current economic issues to their interests.
7. Understanding of the Market Economy
Being an economist makes you understand how a market operates. Understanding the market economy is realizing how demands are created (natural or human-made) and how businesses play the role of fulfilling those demands by offering or supplying those needs.
Disadvantages of Being an Economist
Being an economist isn’t just about high pay and social prestige. There are some downsides to being one. Let’s take a look at some of them.
1. Strong Job Competition
There is strong job competition for economists out there. There is always a chance that someone better than you in terms of degrees or soft skills could get the job. Most positions require a master’s or doctoral degree. So, you have to groom yourself enough and face the competition.
2. More Maths
While you are learning about people and how they function economically, maths still plays a huge role in economics. You have to learn advanced formulas so this career is not for those who don’t like math.
3. Tendency to Overthink
Economists can sometimes be prone to think too theoretically that too more than necessary. Their overthinking nature leads to simple issues being twisted. This could even lead to not having enough sleep.
4. Wrong Decisions and Arguments
Sometimes, economists make mistakes which leads to wrong decisions. This might cost a large sum to those who are seeking their advice. Besides, economists have a sophisticated view regarding any issue which may be completely different from how an ordinary person perceives which leads to never-ending arguments. The worst-case scenario is a debate with another economist.
Being an economist is more than just analyzing numbers. You require strong problem solving as well as complex research skills. You should be clear and concise while communicating because otherwise, you might not get the credit you deserve.
Economists state that the ongoing global pandemic COVID-19 is bound to bring a serious economic crisis in the world. While governments and international organizations have been planning for recovery, there will be a major hand of economists for the upturn of the global economy. Even the smallest of their mistakes could lead to deeper, long-lasting damage to economies across the world especially in times of crises such as COVID-19.
Undeniably, being an economist is challenging. However, if you enjoy analyzing, researching, and making forecasts, designing policies, and advising on economic issues, then working as an economist might be an ideal career choice for you.