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Careers in Economics

Economics majors have a wide range of choices when deciding on an interesting and challenging profession. Undergraduate economics majors are recruited by business firms, from small local companies to the very largest multinational corporations. Some of the career paths in the corporate world include:

  • Banking and Finance — work on Wall Street!
  • Market Analyst — get paid to study markets.
  • Marketing — sales makes the world go round.
  • Human Resources — put your labor economics to good use.

Public administration jobs with government and nonprofit organizations provide many openings to those with economics degrees. Examples of career paths in public administration and government include:

  • International Agencies: Peace Corps, World Bank, United Nations
  • U.S. Government Agencies: Federal Reserve System, Treasury, Commerce, EPA, and more
  • State and Local Government Agencies: Labor, economic development, budget analysis, and other areas.

If your goal is to become a lawyer, economics offers excellent preparation. Many law schools believe that economics represents one of the best backgrounds for success because of its logical, ordered approach to problems.

A small share of economists (1 out of 10) are employed in colleges and universities as professors and administrators. Graduate degrees are required for such positions. Finally, economists engage in private research and act as consultants to large corporations and government agencies.

An internship is sometimes the best way to learn about whether these areas are a match for your abilities and temperament.

Pay in Economics

Pay for economics graduates is above average across all possible majors. In addition, women’s average salaries in the profession are on equal terms with men, which is still not true in some professions. This U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s page provides very detailed employment and earnings information for those with economics degrees. The future (and present) is bright for fellow economists!

Career Preparation

Career preparation is important early on in your college career. You have many resources available to you here at the University of Oregon to help you get started. The main resource is the Career Center. They offer services including educational workshops and assistance with polishing your resume—services that are free to UO students, and are very expensive once you’re out of school. Connect with the Career Center and have your resume ready to go by the end of your junior year.

Extracurricular activities, internships, and community service enhance your resume and get noticed by potential employers. In addition, you can also choose a professional distinction or concentration, where you complete coursework in an area related to your major as well as an internship in that area. This can help you build a professional portfolio with specific experience that is related to your areas of interest.

Finally, take the time to attend career-related events throughout the year. The Undergraduate Events Calendar lists a number of career-related events, such as job fairs, panels and workshops, that can help you be prepared for a successful career.