What happened to all the entry level economics jobs?
July 29, 2008 11:27 PM   Subscribe

I'm a recent graduate with an undergrad degree in economics. Where can I find an economics-related job that doesn't require a PhD? Location doesn't matter much, I just need a job.

Here's the deal, I just graduated and I've been mostly searching for a specifically economics related job (economist/statistician). Just a month ago there were a ton of entry level economist jobs. However, at the time I was trying to find jobs in my home state (hawaii). While that turned out to be mostly unsuccessful, I've decided to reexamine those economist jobs out of state. However, upon looking today I've found that most of the entry level jobs have disappeared from job portals like careerbuilder.

Did I miss the job window for the flood of entry level jobs for college graduates? Where should I be looking for an economist-type job if I hope to someday enter graduate school for economics? Any advice is appreciated.
posted by EvilKenji to Work & Money (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh as a side note, I understand the government has many of these jobs, but I hear from many friends that they may take up to a year to respond and I really don't want to be unemployed/stuck in a part time job for a year.
posted by EvilKenji at 11:30 PM on July 29, 2008

We need some more details. Have you done any internships? Do you have any other skills (language, region)? Did you go to a top school? What specific part of 'economics' do you want to work with?
posted by k8t at 11:42 PM on July 29, 2008

Well I graduated from a small liberal arts college and I do know some mandarin Chinese. I have not done any internships, but I was a teaching assistant in economics.

As far as I know most entry level economics positions are basically research/data-gathering (heavy on the statistics) type of jobs and I was looking for something along those lines.
posted by EvilKenji at 11:54 PM on July 29, 2008

My former neighbor has an undergrad degree in economics from a state college. He works as a loan analyst for a bank, so you might see what's available to you in the banking sector.
posted by amyms at 12:09 AM on July 30, 2008

How much have you worked with your university's career office? It seems like there is a pretty good system set up at most schools to introduce you to potential employers.
posted by k8t at 1:15 AM on July 30, 2008

You know Mandarin: the advice I give everybody with any proficiency in that language and an econ degree is to get your butt to China and re-up that proficiency. The statistics market over here is more thirsty than you know, and if you've got some of the language down, you're in a great position to make huge contributions to the field, and early. Check out some of the opportunities over here, you won't be disappointed.
posted by saysthis at 1:26 AM on July 30, 2008

In banking at least most of the graduate trainee positions - this seems what you're referencing - start to get offered out and taken up Q1. You will see some residual activity well into one month ago - really adjustments as folks decline / accept then decline / that sort of thing - but the bulk of the positions are offered and filled long before.

It wouldn't hurt to revisit the banks, applying directly into HR for the "recent graduates" track. This is really where you'd end up, and it generally isn't a bad deal. When I was working for Deutsche Bank the program was structured (might have changed since) that graduates would enter the bank for two years of "training".

In reality they'd be working and learning on the job. Earning as well, but the thing is they're rotated every three to six months, and at the end of their term (contract) they'd have to find someone at the bank to pick them up. Do a good job, and one of those departments you'd worked for will want you.

If not, well, let's just say its not uncommon to see lots of CVs of people that did a stint at a Tier 1 bank (doesn't have to be Deutsche, they're all pretty similar in that regard) and left.

Just moving through a firms graduate trainee is very, very helpful / educational and marketable on it's own.

While each firm is different, at Detusche we tended to work graduate trainees pretty hard. Its a good chance for them to see that Investment Banking isn't all about sky high wages, rather - well, there were days I'd go to work Monday AM and not return home until Wednesday PM, sleeping under my desk on the trading floor.

Finally, while there are some firms out on The West Coast, you're more realistically looking at New York.

This would be true even if you went for the ratings agencies (Moody's, S&P, etc) or the various Professional Services firms that would be interested in someone with your education (Accenture, etc).

In terms of taking an advanced degree after working - banking / ratings agencies would offer best prospects, across the board. Professional Services less simply because you've got far less certainty about what you'll be doing (and many of these firms are very, very IT centric - not economic oriented).

Don't be afraid to email if there are specifics you'd like to discuss privately. Best of luck!
posted by Mutant at 3:24 AM on July 30, 2008

I understand the government has many of these jobs, but I hear from many friends that they may take up to a year to respond and I really don't want to be unemployed/stuck in a part time job for a year.

I hear this often as well, but my experience (and the experiences of people I knew coming out of undergrad into the job market) tells me this is less true for entry-level positions in the government. The federal jobs I interviewed for - which were similar to the ones that you sound like you're looking for, at the BEA or GAO or CRS - were all set up through my college's career office during one of the job fairs that are specifically for recruiting fresh grads out of liberal arts schools, not through the USAJobs portal. I second the idea of contacting your school's career office, as they will probably be able to point you to resources.

My sense is that the cycle for heavy recruiting of new grads is mostly wrapping up (it certainly is at my workplace). However, there's still jobs left; offers went out at all those places that were turned down. Just because different jobs aren't actively soliciting resumes doesn't mean they're not still hiring. Find the sorts of places you'd be interested in working at and contact HR to see if they'd be interested in receiving a resume from a recent grad. Most will probably say yes.
posted by iminurmefi at 7:35 AM on July 30, 2008

Econ is one of the few social science degrees where you can actually find work related to your field with a BA. I know of econ undergrads who did co-op terms here (Calgary, Canada) with energy firms and in a couple of cases with the Health Region, and they parlayed those into full-time jobs after graduation.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:58 AM on July 30, 2008

Look into the FBI...or DIA.

Both companies are ALWAYS looks for recent grads with Economic's degrees...I work with several...and while yes, not all are strictly working in their "field" you can easily get a clerance out of it which translates to much larger oppertunities...

posted by TeachTheDead at 10:21 AM on July 30, 2008

Re: Federal jobs. They don't take a year to respond... maybe a couple months. And there are many more jobs available as boomers are retiring. Follow iminurmefi but also do search USAJOBS, your application will eventually have to go through that and the rule of thumb is to apply for 20 and hear back from one. Look into Census, the BEA, CRS etc some have postings separate from USAJOBS...

Also: Congressional staffer! Research Assistant at a non-profits, think-tanks etc, ...
posted by stratastar at 4:55 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

stratastar gives good advice. Look at USAJobs. When I graduated from college with an econ degree, that's where I looked. I was able to get a job at the Department of Commerce in their International Trade Administration. It was definitely economics related. Most of my friends got their economics jobs in the same way. They worked at various Federal Reserve Banks, the Bureau of Labor, etc. (I ended up turning it down to go to grad school instead to study something completely non-economics related -- although a true economist would probably say everything is econ related :) ).
posted by bluefly at 7:49 AM on July 31, 2008

I was an economics major in college and most of my friends went into economics jobs. Most job openings are filled by people leaving college so it is probably a terrible time to try to get a job, but I sure the market will open up more.
Several of my friends work for the government and they did not need to wait a year. They also enjoy their job and get the option to work 4 days/week at 10 hrs/ day.
posted by bucksox at 7:04 PM on July 31, 2008

Thanks for all the responses, you've given me some new hope. For those that have gotten jobs through USAJOBS, can you give me an estimated timeline of how long things took?
posted by EvilKenji at 5:33 AM on August 1, 2008

Thanks for the tip on the census, the BEA and CRS. I was already looking into various areas of the department of labor/commerce but had forgotten about the CRS. Certainly helps me make up for all the lost progress I've spent applying to jobs I don't care about here in hawaii. I think the federal/think-tank jobs are really what I'm aiming toward. With that in mind, are there any job portals like usajobs that has a bunch of economics related job listings from private companies?
posted by EvilKenji at 5:53 AM on August 1, 2008

Check out the Foreign Policy Association's job bank, as well as this one.

Personally I got contacted by Census after two weeks, but It wasn't my first job out of college... feel free to message me more about it, or DC jobs in general.
posted by stratastar at 4:58 AM on August 5, 2008

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