Kristin A. Van Gaasbeck

Dept. of Economics | College of SSIS | Sacramento State
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Career Outlook

This page focuses on career opportunities for students in Economics. If you are not an Economics major, please see your major advisor for information on career opportunities and graduate school in your field of study.

Campus Resources

U.S. Department of Labor (Occupations and Salaries)

Local Agencies (recently hired Economics majors/graduate students)

Other General Sources (salaries and broad professions for Economics majors)

The Hot Major for Undergraduates Seeking High Pay is Economics, Wall Street Journal.



Campus Resources

The California State University, Sacramento Career Center is a resource for all current students and alumni. Career Connection (SacLink account required to register) is an excellent way to keep track of who is interviewing on campus and in the Sacramento region. Debra Marcus is an excellent contact in the Career Center, she is a career counselor for the social sciences.

If you're still in the process of choosing a major, check out the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) Salary Survey -- it provides a breakdown of salaries by major and profession.

The Department of Economics maintains a Job Resource Center for undergraduates and graduate students in Economics. The Department posts information about Internships in Economics and Scholarships.



U.S. Department of Labor

Occuppational Outlook Quarterly
Includes the most up-to-date information on salaries and employment by profession.

Occupational Outlook Handbook
Provides detailed information on the nature of specific occupations, qualifications, and earnings. According to the handbook, students majoring in economics were employed in the following professions (links to specific jobs):

1. Economists
2. Statisticians
3. Conservation scientists and foresters
4. Financial managers
5. Actuaries
6. Mathematicians
7. Financial analysts and personal financial advisors
8. Loan officers
9. Budget analysts
10. Cost estimators
11. News analysts, reporters, and correspondents
12. Professional and Related Occupations
13. Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers
14. Insurance sales agents
15. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents
16. Dietitians and nutritionists
17. Operations research analysts
18. Urban and regional planners
19. Chiropractors
20. Atmospheric scientists
21. Market and survey researchers
22. Occupational Information Network Coverage
23. Human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists

24. Medical and health services managers
25. Advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers
26. Lodging managers
27. Top executives
28. Management analysts
29. Physicists and astronomers
30. Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing
31. Securities, Commodities, and Other Investments
32. Social workers
33. Agricultural and food scientists
34. Chemists and materials scientists
35. Environmental scientists and hydrologists
36. Real estate brokers and sales agents
37. Interior designers
38. Writers and editors
39. Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents
40. Appraisers and assessors of real estate
41. Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services
42. Lawyers
43. Banking
44. Scientific research and development services
45. Truck transportation and warehousing
46. Insurance




Local Agencies

Recently, the following local agencies have hired students with a B.A. or M.A. degree in Economics.



Other General Sources


National Association of Colleges and Employers
According to the Fall 2006 salary survey, starting salaries (entry-level positions) for Economics majors are similar (or better) than Business majors:


Business Administration/Management
Management Information Systems
Computer Science
Engineering: Chemical
Engineering: Civil
Engineering: Computer
Engineering: Electrical
Engineering: Mechanical



Wall Street Journal - College Journal
This web site include salary information by profession. Professions in the following industries require an economics (or similar degree):


National Association for Business Economics (NABE)

The following excerpt was taken from the Careers in Business Economics Book (2004):

As a group, business economists receive excellent salaries. A survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) in 2002 found that business economists had an average (median) base salary of $94,000 per year. Nearly 47 percent of the respondents reported salaries between $50,000 and $100,000, with 47 percent reporting base salaries at $100,000 or more. NABE also found that 63 percent of those business economists responding to the survey received additional compensation from their primary employment; the median amount reported was $15,000. Even with three recessions and corporate downsizing in the late 1980s/early 1990s, the median base salary and additional compensation from primary employment of economists has doubled since 1980.

The 2002 survey also indicated that the largest employers of business economists were the government (including central banks), firms engaged in consulting, and financial institutions and insurance. Economists in the securities and investments sector were the most highly paid with a median base salary of $125,000 and additional compensation from primary employment of $60,000. Economists in consulting followed with a median salary of $108,000, with additional compensation of $13,000. The lowest salaries were recorded among economists in academia (with corresponding median base salaries of $82,750)

Education plays a significant role in explaining salaries. The greater the schooling, the higher the income: the median base salary of a Ph.D. economist was $108,000 per year while economists with masters degrees earned an average $84,500 per year.

Experience also plays a large role in wages. The median base salary of economists who had up to four years of experience was $65,000 in 2002, while those economists with 5-9 years experience earned a median salary of $83,000; and those with 10-14 years experience earned $93,000 per year.

New economists with a bachelor's degree were most sought after in 2002. The median starting salary was $38,000. Those with a master's degree in economics could start at $48,000, while new Ph.D.'s were able to command a starting salary of $70,000.

Economists could reap further rewards. Many business economist move to managerial positions where they can employ their unique skills to evaluate the work of others and translate their findings into practical business policy.

©2007 Kristin Van Gaasbeck | Department of Economics | 6000 J Street | Sacramento, CA 95819-6082 | 916.278.6223