How To Become An Economist In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how to become economists in Australia and how much salary they earn.


Are you a detail-oriented and methodological person who likes researching and analysing data?


Economists research, evaluate, and advise businesses and governments about the country's economic state. They analyse the manufacture, consumption, and distribution of goods, resources, and services.


To become an Economist in Australia, you must complete an undergraduate three-year degree in economics or commerce. A postgraduate qualification will improve your skillset and help you specialise as an economist.


This article will help you jumpstart your profession as an economist. You will learn about what Economists do, their qualifications, courses, degrees, salary, job prospects, graduate jobs, and how to become one in Australia.



1. Who Is An Economist?


An Economist, also called an economic analyst, studies data and economic research findings to identify economic trends and offer guidance on issues affecting society and business.


They study the international economic situation, advise MNCs and governments, and evaluate a small firm's economy to help them maximise their profits.


Economists also examine the socioeconomic groups, industries, the regional, national, and global economy to offer advice and predictions to businesses and governments. These include taxation, wages, imports and exports, interest rates, exchange rates, and employment and unemployment.


It helps them make informed decisions on economic policies and investments.



2. What Does An Economist Do?


Economists analyse the behaviour and interaction of people and organisations. Based on this, they predict economic conditions, make, and implement policies, formulate corporate strategies, and offer guidance on investment decisions.


Here is a comprehensive list of tasks and duties of economists in Australia:


  • Use historical data to evaluate economic trends, map changes with time, and forecast future movement.

  • Help create government economic policies.

  • Examine the impact of economic and financial policies of the government and budgetary policies, such as taxation, and expenditure, on the economy

  • Implement economic concepts in real-time financial projects to evaluate relationships between demand and supply and the manufacture and distribution of goods.

  • Develop and implement theories on the spending behaviour of people and the manufacture and supply of goods and services. 

  • Prepare recommendations, plans, and policies for the nation's economy, business investment, and strategies and perform feasibility studies.

  • Study workplace issues that include wage fixation, enterprise bargaining, economic growth, and the impact of workplace programs on productivity.

  • Predict fiscal environment changes for investment, short-term accounting, and long-term planning.

  • Prepare charts and reports forecasting market trends, including housing consents, retail spending, government spending, business investment, imports, and exports.

  • Guide on economic matters, including taxes, financial planning, and budgeting 

  • Conduct surveys and gather macro and microeconomic data to predict an upsurge or decline in economic growth.

  • Organise and understand complex data and information, including fluctuations in exchange rates and terms and conditions of trade.

  • Communicate research findings in visual forms such as charts and reports to make them easily understandable for investors.

  • Recognise opportunities to enhance efficiency and global competitiveness

  • Analyse and document the impact of the labour market and industry programs and policies on monetary growth, social welfare, training, and education.

  • Evaluate the types of services and goods manufactured and consumed in Australia and worldwide and report it to concerned management personnel.

  • Read regular reports from other economists and government departments to stay updated on current economic issues, including import and export figures, interest rates, etc. 



3. Skills To Become An Economist


Employers in Australia generally look for the following skill in a job applicant set to hire them as an economist:


  • Interest in Economics

  • Good research abilities

  • Good communication skills

  • Logical thinking

  • Computer literacy

  • Numerical skills

  • Analytical approach

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Able to discuss opinions clearly

  • Able to write briefly

  • Good knowledge of statistical analysis

  • Methodological

  • Organised

  • Able to offer advice on economic matters

  • Able to work independently or as a team



4. Qualifications For An Economist in Australia


Interesting in pursuing a career as an Economist in Australia? You will need a tertiary qualification from an accredited training institute to seek an entry-level role in this profession.


  • Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in Maths and English

  • A degree in economics or commerce, such as a 3-year Bachelor of Commerce or a Bachelor of Economics. Those with a commerce degree can pursue a Master of Economics or even a PhD within the Economics discipline for advanced knowledge and career progression.

  • Membership in an industry association like The Economic Society of Australia will help build professional connections and stay updated with industry news.



4. Steps To Become An Economist In Australia


Here is a complete roadmap on how you can become and work as an Economist in Australia:



Step 1: Get Qualified


Earn an undergraduate course in economics or commerce, such as a 3-year Bachelor of Commerce or a Bachelor of Economics.


As the economics degree gets mathematical around the third year, students should have a mathematics background, completed Year 12 in mathematics. An honours degree is beneficial to gaining employment as a professional economist.


If you are a commerce graduate, a postgraduate qualification in economics or commerce is ideal for boosting your employment prospects.


Knowledge of finance can also improve your employability for a private financial sector role. With these qualifications, you can start applying for economist jobs in Australia.



Step 2: Put Theoretical Knowledge Into Practice


Many universities run internships and group consulting project programs. This help apply your academic learning via practical experience and empower you to use your leadership skills and economic knowledge to deal with real-life scenarios.



Step 3: Join An Industry Association


It is beneficial to become a member of The Economic Society of Australia to stay informed of the latest industry news and economic trends and developments.



5. Relevant Courses for Economists in Australia


A Bachelor In Economics helps the student understand human behaviour and how peoples' and institutions' decisions interact to govern economic and societal consequences.


The degree explores policymaking, regulation, property rights, inflation, government interaction, strategic interaction, and labour markets, helping develop distinct insights and transferable analytical skills.


Along with knowledge of conventional economic issues such as taxation, trade policy and unemployment, economics enables people to understand and find solutions for human challenges, including bribery, global inequality, climate change, political divergence, and health care and education.


You will benefit from a degree at any of the Australian universities and training institutes:


  • Sydney University

  • University of Tasmania

  • University of Western Australia

  • Deakin University

  • University of South Australia

  • UNSW



6. What Is Economist Stream Program, And How To Apply For It?


The Economist Stream is a centrally co-led program by the Treasury and the Australian Public Service Commission.


This program allows working with the leading Macroeconomic Forecasters and Economic Policy Analysts of Australia. Further, it will enable contributing to making decisions on macroeconomic, global economic, and national economic policies for the welfare of Australians.


An Economic graduate can apply for APS Economist Stream. The Treasury will lead the hiring of the Economist Stream with the support of an outsourced provider and volunteering agencies.


Shortlisted candidates will undergo a graduate program in an agency or a department. It will provide them with development and training to progress their skills, confidence, and knowledge as valued APS members and contributors.


Trained candidates can work for several Economist roles across agencies and departments in the Australian Public Service sector.


You will be eligible to work in the government's monetary policies, domestic and global economic situations, budgetary policies, and predicting changes in the fiscal environment.



Eligibility Criteria:




7. How To Become An Economist Without A Degree?


Looking into history, you will find that most of the Nobel Prize winners in Economics had a Mathematician or statistician background. Thus, to make a career in this sector, you should have a highly quantitative background in Physics, Math, and Statistics.


Most candidates with an undergraduate degree in a non-related field should pursue a Master's, MBA, or PhDs in economics. The key is to gain a good grasp of quantitative methods and mathematics to make a professional career as an Economist.



8. Work conditions For Economists in Australia





Economists work in offices in various settings, such as government departments, universities, and businesses.


Most Economists' workforce is in New South Wales.



Nature of Employment


According to Job Outlook, around 84% of economists work full-time. 


It shows that there are fewer opportunities for part-time workers.



Work Hours


Full-time workers in this sector work 44 hours, the same as the industry average.


They may even work overtime to meet stringent deadlines, such as when yearly reports are due.


Economists may conduct research and prepare reports either independently or as a team.



Tools and Technologies


Use computers to perform research and generate reports.


Work on spreadsheets, database management programs, and software programs to create mathematical models and perform statistical analysis to predict upcoming economic developments.





The average age of employed economists is 37 years.





Around 33% of the employed workforce comprises females.


It is an opportunity for aspiring female Economists who wish to pursue this profession.



9. Employment For Economists In Australia


Economists are sought after by state, territory, or federal government departments, trade unions, policymakers at all government levels, financial institutions, private consulting firms, international organisations, commercial organisations, and non-profit organisations.


Combining an Economics major with other fields such as environmental science, philosophy, accountingfinance, psychology, history, mathematics, and politics is great for diverse careers such as researchersanalystsjournalists, advisorsconsultants, and forecasters.


The public sector departments in Australia that recruit Economists:




Key Private Sectors in Australia That Recruit Economists:


  • Investment and Commercial banks

  • Energy firms and regulators

  • Economics, Engineering, and Management consulting organisations



Areas of Specialisation Include:


  • Environmental Economist

  • Financial Economist

  • Labour Market Economist

  • Resource Economist

  • Taxation Economist

  • Transport Economist

  • Applied Industry Economist

  • Econometrician



10. Prospects For Economists In Australia


The job prospects for economists depend on economic activity and the levels of government. As there is competition for available job roles, postgraduate study is beneficial to enhance employment prospects.


Economic graduates work for public and private sector companies in marketing, public administration, financial and insurance, professional, technical and scientific, and management services.


Though economist professionals work throughout Australia, NSW and VIC are the top hiring states. 


Here is the breakup of the employment percentage of Economists in prominent states of Australia:


  • New South Wales: 34.1% 

  • Victoria: 26.0%

  • Australian Capital Territory: 15.4%

  • Queensland: 12.6%

  • Western Australia: 6.7%

  • South Australia: 3.5%

  • Tasmania: 1.0%

  • Northern Territory: 0.8%



11. Salary Of An Economist In Australia


The job vacancies for economists range between $80k and $100k in Australia.


Based on Indeed 2022 data, the average economist salary in Australia is $92,400 per year. The weekly and hourly economist salary is $1,691 and $47.26 in Australia.


The earnings of economists are higher than that of professionals working in other areas of business. The strong earnings of economist graduates come from their quantitative skills and analytical thinking.


Where the starting salary of an economics graduate is similar to that of other business graduates, their wages tend to rise at a pretty fast rate with the increase in experience.


According to PayScale 2022 data, the average graduate economist salary for an entry-level economist (1 to 3 years of experience) is $107,541 and the average senior economist salary in Australia (8+ years of experience) is $193,289.


The Top Paying Cities For Economists In Australia Are:


  • Economist salary Sydney NSW: $118,230 per year

  • Melbourne VIC: $116,851 per year

  • Economist salary Brisbane QLD: $110,062 per year

  • Hobart TAS: $102,712 per year

  • Melbourne City Centre VIC: $101,910 per year

  • St Lucia QLD: $91,913 per year

  • Canberra ACT: $89,135 per year



12. Conclusion


As an Economist, you get the opportunity and responsibility to formulate and implement policies in the nation's best interest.


This generalised qualification educates you on the financial crisis, exchange rates, the employment market, stock markets, and house prices, which leads to various career opportunities.


Now that you know everything about the job role, it is time to get qualified and make a lucrative career as an Economist.


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