What is an Economic Consultant?
Economic consultants conduct research and analyze economic conditions of a particular business. They often work for an economic consulting agency, who may be hired by a private business to look into the conditions of a business's current economic standing in order to suggest ways of refining that business to receive maximum economic benefits and outcomes. Economic consultants may also be called upon to advise in settlement cases regarding economic issues, to testify as an expert witness in trial or to support another academic or expert who will be testifying.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree; MBA or PhD may be required for advancement in the field|
|Job Skills||Knowledge of mathematics, statistics and analysis; technology skills|
|Average Salary (2019)||$72,054*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||6% increase (economists); 11% increase (financial analysts)**|
Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A bachelor's degree is needed to enter the field in an entry-level position, such as analyst or associate, but an MBA or PhD is often required in order to advance in the field to a higher position, such as senior economist, consultant or manager. Many economic consulting firms have prescribed career paths, so advancement in the field is common as long as the prospective consultant is willing and able to go back to school after a couple years of work to complete graduate-level education.
As mentioned above, economic consultants typically work for consulting firms that are then hired by other businesses to offer advice on how to improve their current economic position, or are brought in by lawyers or government agencies to advise on current settlement or trial cases. Common skills that are required for this type of career include the ability to work as part of a team, research and analysis skills and proficiency in mathematics and statistics. Economic consultants must have a firm understanding of economic trends and business in order to be able to analyze the current standing of the business in question and identify ways to improve it. Job prospects may be improved with experience using software such as SAS or STATA, as part of an economic consultant's job duties will often include building statistical or financial models. These models may be used to explore the total economic impact of a certain factor in question during a legal case.
Career Outlook and Salary
The economic consulting industry has grown in recent years largely due to factors such as a greater frequency of antitrust cases and increased federal and state oversight over business matters. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't have detailed information about the growth of economic consulting in particular, but it offers projected job growth for the related jobs of economists and financial analysts, which are 6% and 11%, respectively, for the decade spanning 2016-2026.
The average salary for economic consultants, according to PayScale.com, is $72,054 as of 2019, although this salary may increase if you choose to advance in the field to a senior or management position.