A career in economics

by Shreeprakash Sharma

If you think that economics is the subject which only deals with the issues of forecasting the rate of growth of GDP of a country and keeps the common masses updated with the recommendations and various monetary policies initiated by the Central Bank of a country for the purpose of checking the spiralling rate of inflation, plummeting level of employment and income under depression, then you are not absolutely correct. In the present global scenario of the post-reformed economy of the 1990s, economics as a subject has been reckoned as the science of human behaviour which functions as the parameters of holistic development of a nation and also a pretty vital treatise on the welfare of its common masses.

They say that economics is what economists do. What it connotes is the truth that canvas and contour of economics is so vast that it cannot easily be enveloped within the boundary of a few definitions and concepts, the fact which was also endorsed by George Bernard Shaw when he had said, “If all the economists are laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion.”

However, economics is traditionally a subject of humanities and commerce but pragmatically it is no way less than a subject of science stream because it encompasses mathematics and applications of various mathematical tools in the derivation of models of growth of an economy and measurement of national income and its various aggregates. Possession of acumen of drawing various graphs and diagrams and analysing them to reach out to vital results makes economics conspicuous among the subjects of humanities. It also includes social science, psychology, welfare economics and philosophies – all blended so beautifully and subtly interwoven in it. And that is why it is considered as an evergreen and dynamic subject the importance of which has even more increased, especially in the aftermath of globalization, liberalization and privatization.

Over the past few decades, economics has grown as an interesting and immaculately professional subject from the point of view of prospects of a career and availability of job opportunities. From the early days of Adam Smith, also known as the father of economics, to the sophisticated modern world of the 21st century, the subject matter of economics has exponentially grown to be the stepping stone of promising careers and key job opportunities both at home and abroad. The demand for the graduate and postgraduate candidates is fast rising to fulfil the rapidly increasing need of the various segments of not only the Indian economy but also across the economies of the world.

As a social science, the subject matter of economics is associated with production, consumption and distribution of goods and services. The main purpose of all these basic economic activities is to gain maximum satisfaction or profit by the rational use of the scarce resources in such a manner that the cost occurred is minimum. Economics helps realize this target with the help of various economic tools of research as well as observation of demand and supply, exchange rates, monetary policy, fiscal policy and many others which are so closely connected with the welfare of the common masses.

The study of economics both at micro and macro levels makes an aspirant of this subject have insight, intelligence and inquisitiveness. Besides, the sharpness of mind and the quick decision-making power make other essential merits of the aspirants who want to study economics with the purpose of making a promising career to secure beautiful future and earn lucrative compensation of employees.

Economics courses and eligibility

Though the study of economics starts only from ninth standard but at this stage, it is merely the induction of students into the virtual world of economics but the pure economics syllabi are covered only from eleventh and twelfth classes which include, among others, the study of microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, fiscal policy, monetary policy, markets, production, costs and revenues, consumer’s equilibrium, producer’s equilibrium, methods of measurement of national income, income and employment theory, balance of payment, banks and other monetary agencies of the governments across the globe.

Twelfth pass certificate in economics proves to be the passport of entry of the students into the world of specialized study of the subject at the college and university level. From Honours course in B.A, B.Sc, students can further opt for postgraduation and PhD degrees in the subject which further qualify them for more of the employment opportunities and career options.

Career prospects in economics

In the wake of the post-reformed world economies, the job prospects in the realm of economics have increased beyond anyone’s imagination. Both the private and public sector undertakings are opening up a string of opportunities for the economics graduates and postgraduates in a number of positions with beautiful perks and compensation.

The government sector offers jobs to the economics professionals in commercial banks, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other public sector undertakings whereas in the private sector these professionals of economics are offered jobs in the commercial and multinational banks, BPOs (Business Processing Outsourcing), KPO (Knowledge Processing Outsourcing), newspapers, business journals and other marketing segments of the consumer products.

There is no denying the fact that a plethora of opportunities is also available in the teaching sector at school, college and university level to the aspirants with PhD in this subject.

In so far as the journalism segment of the audio-visual media is concerned, the career as a financial correspondent and editor of the various business and financial newspapers and magazines too can be a pretty good choice. In the present global world scenario, a career as a Corporate Lawyer with LL.B degree after graduation in economics is proving a charming job option which has caught the fancy of the youth. MBA degree after graduation in economics is a very bright area of job markets which offer management posts of very high echelons and handsome pay increments in the private sector companies.

Universities and colleges

Though there is a string of colleges and universities which offer BA, MA, PhD and other degrees in economics the following institutes are really considered as the reputed and rank holders in the country.

In the fast-rising global economy there are many other fields which offer vast employment opportunities for the economics graduates and postgraduates. Accounting, marketing, banking, retailing, system analysis, management, advertising, communication, actuary, teaching and a lot of other segments are very important for the career prospects of the students who opt economics as their major.

The various colleges and universities provide a cornucopia of options to study the various disciplines of economics upon which depends on the quality of the jobs and the corpulence of the pay package.

The students can opt for
Financial Economics, Agriculture Economics, Industrial Economics, Labour Economics, International Economics, Econometrics, Environmental Economics, Development Economics, Welfare Economics, Monetary Economics, Rural Development, and Business Economics, Behavioural Economics, Statistics.

Job opportunities Government sector

The government sector offers an array of prestigious and privileged employment opportunities to the economics aspirants. The graduates and postgraduates in economics can choose economics as an optional in the mains of the civil services examinations and make career as an IAS, IPS, IFS or various other allied services officials of the central government.

Indian Economic Services, Reserve Bank of India, National Sample Survey Organization, Planning Commission (Now replaced by NITI Aayog), Ministry of Economic Affairs, National Council for Applied Economic Research and various other departments provide prestigious employment opportunities to the candidates with economics as a major at graduation and post-graduation levels.

Indian Economic Services, Indian Civil Services, Indian Statistical Services and Investigators’ examinations are conducted every year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Under the IES the economics graduates are offered the opportunities to work in the erstwhile Planning Commission and various other Central government departments. However, if an economics graduate has an aptitude for data and figures the job opportunities in various advertising and research companies are very much abundantly available.

These departments provide the jobs which are closely concerned with the collection, analysis and research of various types of data. Apart from this, the State Public Service Commissions of various state governments are also conducting examinations for the selection of various administrative posts for which one can choose economics as one of the main optional papers.

In the present age of information technology and knowledge economy where information is considered as power, print, audio and visual media can be the golden passport of a wide variety of jobs for the economics graduates and postgraduates. One can work for an array of news channels in the electronic media where the trade and business news need to be collected and written and read too.

Various business newspapers, magazines, journals and periodicals in print media depute business correspondents in the various cities and towns across the nations and the foreign countries as well and for this economics graduates and postgraduates with degrees and diploma in journalism may prove to be ideal candidates.

Private sector

In the global scenario, the employment opportunities in the private sector too have increased manifold. The private sector firms are offering various positions like those of economists, marketing executives, economic advisers, business analysts, consultants, marketing researchers, economic research analysts, and stock market analysts to the economics graduates with specialization in some of the branches of economics.

National and international financial institutions

Economics is the privileged subject which helps the graduates and postgraduates get very high-packaged, high-profile and prestigious jobs in banks and other financial institutes both at home and abroad. In India, the economics graduates are offered a string of jobs by the commercial banks.

The Reserve Bank of India each year conducts examination for the appointment of Grade ‘B’ officers. The international financial institutes like those of World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank, NABARD, International Labour Organization (ILO), World Economic Forum, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and other institutes recruit graduates and postgraduates with specialization and PhD for the various prestigious positions.

Besides, the commercial organizations like The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), one of the apex trade organizations of the country, The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), an association of business organizations, also appoint the eminent economists on their management board.

Teaching job opportunities

Economics, in fact, is considered as a very tough and rather monotonous subject among the humanities and commerce subjects. But academically, diligent and mentally sharp postgraduates with degrees in teaching, M.Phil. and PhD can opt for the teaching jobs at various levels and make the subject easier and more interesting to the students.

All the management institutes also require teaching faculties in economics, especially business and marketing economics, and which provide very good package and perks. Only added required qualification is that of PhD. and specialization in one or more of the branches of your choice of economics.

In addition, the premier coaching institutes of Civil Services Examinations also search for high-profile and highly educated economics postgraduates with doctorate as the teaching faculty. The package of these luminaries is no way less than those of big corporate organization officials.

Job of research analysts and economists

Job opportunities are also in abundance for those economics graduates and postgraduates who can take up the job of equity researchers or analysts in various firms of brokerage, Mutual Fund and foreign institutional investment. These analysts seriously study the various types of data regarding the trading of shares and investments of companies and their profit and losses accounts.

The research course in economics can be taken from the Institute of Development Research, Delhi, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, International Institute for Population Studies and Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.

In today’s globalized and liberalized economy, the multinational companies and big corporate and quasi-corporate houses and financial institutes have the post of economists who work as advisors for the Management Board. These economists study the cost and benefit data and ensure that the companies earn the profit and also help meet the targets and stay ahead of the rest.

Preparing charts, tables and graphs of the vital economic issues and growth indices is also the job of an economist. He also recommends measures to solve the financial problems, economic crises and chalks out strategic policies for future action. He also studies the data and conducts surveys for maximising the profits of their parent companies.

Economists are also appointed by the private, public and foreign banks to serve the same purpose of an advisor so that they can earn and maximise their profits to stay at the highest trajectory of the rate of growth. The economist also writes articles for the publication in the newsletters and other journals.

In the age of the fast increasing foreign collaboration and strategic international trade and partnership, the job opportunities for the professionals, experts in economics, are skyrocketing with the speed never seen before.

The global phenomena of the influx of foreign direct investments and current prevalence of outsourcing of human resources, brought about by the globalization of the economy in the 1990s, have brought a magical spike in the employment opportunities for the candidates with degrees and diploma in economics and its related disciplines.

There is no escaping the fact that when the fast-developing countries like India and other Asian countries have fixed their rates of growth as high as 9 percent and plus per annum in the imminent years to come then the possibility of increase in employment opportunities for the economics graduates and postgraduates is set to consistently move along higher and higher trajectories of growth.

Back Issues