Your career guide on becoming an ‘Economist’

In the world of business, money is at the center of everything. Nothing is done without a financial reason behind it because at the end of the day, that’s why a business exists. An economist becomes very important as they are the ones who are tasked with predicting financial trends. Economist jobs involve predicting weaknesses and opportunities in the business environment and economy as a whole. If this kind of thing excites you, then keep on reading as we will explain everything about becoming a professional in this field.


What is an economist?

As we mentioned before, an economist’s main role is to predict shortcomings in a business or economy so they can suggest to the people who control the finances of a company or country to make adjustments to counter these shortfalls. A lot of research is undertaken to identify these threats or opportunities. An economist would also be tasked with monitoring, reporting on and, where possible, influence procedures and government policy in their own specialized field.

Career opportunities

Economics is a very broad field of study. There are just so many different kinds of companies and so many variations on financial situations that professionals in this field need to be familiar with. You can work in both the private and public sector. You concentrate on the economy as a whole and you could be employed by any financial institution. This means you can work for banks or life insurance companies. You could work in the retail trade or manufacturing sectors, or the Reserve Bank and government financial departments. You will assist in planning, budgeting and strategic processes as your insight will affect all of these departments in any sector.


All of this means that you will be in high demand as nothing is more important than a country’s or company’s financial outlook. You will either be working for an organization that manages other companies’ finances or you will be working for an organization to serve their needs.

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What kind of person do I have to be?

In order to be the right person for economist jobs in South Africa you should be a critical thinker and have an eye for detail. You need to ask questions like “What are behind the graphs and figures?”, “What factors are influencing the economy?” You need to also be mathematically inclined as you will be performing calculations like percentage changes, seasonal adjustments, smoothing techniques, annualisation, regression analysis and the like. You need to be diligent and precise as your recommendation could very well make or break a company or economy.

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Education and training

To become a qualified economist in South Africa, one needs to first have a National Senior Certificate that meets the requirements for a degree course at a given educational institution. They each have their own entrance requirements but you will definitely need to have good marks in mathematics, and having done either economics, business science or accounting will put you in a much better position for entrance.

You will then need to obtain a degree with either Economics, Econometrics, Business Economics, Banking or Statistics as major subjects. You can either complete a 3 years’ full-time study or 4 years’ part-time study course. You can obtain a Bachelor of Commerce (Bcom) or a BA degree with Economics as a major subject from any higher education learning facility in the country. A Bachelor of Economics (BEcon) can be obtained only from The University of Fort Hare in Mpumalanga, Rhodes University in Grahamstown or the University of Venda in Thohoyandou in Limpopo. Lastly there is the option of getting a The Bachelor of Economic Science (BEconSc) which can only be obtained through the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.


These various degrees will give you a different approach to studying and specialising in economics. The Bcom for example is a broader business degree whereas the BEconSc is purely for people who want to go into economics.

Economist salary

According to PayScale, The average salary for economist jobs in South Africa is R244,861 per year. The highest paying sectors are associated with jobs in Financial Analysis and Research Analysis. This career is heavily dependent on your experience as this is the main determinant of your income level.

Economist Jobs on Job Mail

Some Economist positions on Job Mail

Manager Financial Services


Financial Director


Financial Manager


Ready to become an economist? Register your CV on Job Mail and start applying for a number of different jobs within this field of specialisation. You will find a multitude of economist jobs. Find your perfect career on Job Mail!

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4 Responses

  1. simphiwe says:

    m interested in becoming an economist I’m as passionate grade 12 student

    • Jani Grey says:

      Hi Simphiwe,

      We hope our guide on becoming an economist helps you on your journey to becoming one. The section on ‘Education and training’ can give you some guidance on which steps to follow.

      Thank you for visiting Job Mail.

  2. Senzo Buthelezi says:

    I’m doing my final semester in my economics degree and I was wondering how long does it take to get a job ?

    • Jani Grey says:

      Hi Senzo,

      There is no fixed amount of time within which you are guaranteed to get a job. You just have to keep on applying. The right job will come along.

      If you have not registered your CV on Job Mail, follow this link:

      Once you’ve registered, look for jobs that suit your skill set at and apply for them!

      Alternatively, set up a job alert to receive the latest jobs in your field via email at

      We hope you find employment soon!

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