Economists perform economic research and analysis, develop and apply theories about production and distribution of goods and services and people's spending and financial behaviour, and provide advice to governments and organisations on economic policy issues.

Also known as: Economic Analyst.

Specialisations: Agricultural Economist, Econometrician, Economic Forecaster, Environmental Economist, Health Economist, Labour Market Economist, Mineral Economist, Taxation Economist.

A bachelor degree in economics is needed to work as an Economist. Many Economists complete postgraduate studies.

Tasks

  • analysing interrelationships between economic variables and studying the effects of government fiscal and monetary policies, expenditure, taxation and other budgetary policies on the economy and the community
  • researching, analysing and assessing the effects of labour market programs and industry policies and programs on economic growth, welfare, education and training
  • investigating international and national economic situations, and particular features such as industries, regions and socioeconomic groups
  • studying workplace issues such as enterprise bargaining and wage fixation, and the effect of workplace policies on productivity and economic growth
  • analysing trends and advising on economic issues such as taxation levels, prices, employment and unemployment, imports and exports, and interest and exchange rates
  • forecasting changes in the economic environment for short-term budgeting, long-term planning and investment evaluation
  • formulating recommendations, policies and plans for the economy, corporate strategies and investment, and undertaking feasibility studies for projects
  • preparing reports on research findings

All Economists

  • Unavailable Weekly Pay
  • Moderate Future Growth
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment
  • 6,300 workers Employment Size
  • Very high skill Skill level rating
  • 84% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 44 hours Average full-time
  • 37 years Average age
  • 33% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Economists (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow over the next 5 years:
from 6,300 in 2018 to 6,700 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 5,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 1,000 a year).

  • Size: This is a small occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
  • Location: Economists work in many parts of Australia. The Australian Capital Territory has a large share of workers.
  • Industries: Most work in Public Administration and Safety; Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; and Financial and Insurance Services.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (84%, much higher than the average of 66%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 44 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 37 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 33% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
20082800
20094300
20104800
20114900
20123200
20135000
20143300
20155700
20165800
20174800
20186300
20236700

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Public Administration and Safety34.7
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services28.7
Financial and Insurance Services14.2
Education and Training5.6
Other Industries16.8

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateEconomistsAll Jobs Average
NSW34.131.6
VIC26.025.6
QLD12.620.0
SA3.57.0
WA6.710.8
TAS1.02.0
NT0.81.0
ACT15.41.9

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketEconomistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.1-5.05.0
20-246.0-9.39.3
25-3435.3-22.922.9
35-4427.1-22.022.0
45-5417.3-21.621.6
55-596.5-9.09.0
60-644.1-6.06.0
65 and Over3.7-4.24.2

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationEconomistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate50.2-10.110.1
Bachelor degree44.7-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma1.3-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV0.6-21.121.1
Year 123.1-18.118.1
Year 110.0-4.84.8
Year 10 and below0.1-12.512.5

A bachelor degree in economics is needed to work as an Economist. Many Economists complete postgraduate studies.

Membership with The Economic Society of Australia may be useful.

Thinking about study or training?

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.

Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

Useful links and resources


The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

Employers look for Economists who have strong attention to detail, can communicate clearly with a wide variety of people and can work well in a team.

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Mathematics

    89% Skill level

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  2. Economics and Accounting

    83% Skill level

    Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.

  3. English Language

    64% Skill level

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  4. Education and Training

    63% Skill level

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  5. Computers and Electronics

    59% Skill level

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 19-3011.00 - Economists.

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Filter Work Environment

Demands

The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

  1. Electronic Mail

    100% Important

    How often do you use electronic mail?

  2. Face-to-Face Discussions

    92% Important

    How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

  3. Freedom to Make Decisions

    91% Important

    How much freedom do you have to make decision on your own?

  4. Structured versus Unstructured Work

    90% Important

    How much freedom do you have to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals?

  5. Indoors, Heat Controlled

    86% Important

    How often do you work indoors with access to heating or cooling?

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 19-3011.00 - Economists.

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