What You Need to Know as an Economics Graduate in Singapore
Singapore highly value those with an economics degree as the country is one of the financial centres of South-East Asia and careers in both private and public sectors are welcomed. Having a degree in economics allows you to get a good exposure to many areas and expertise in economics can be useful for a number of careers in almost every industry. A degree in economics would allow graduates to gain the basis for understanding business as well as the world of economics.
Not only is economics more theory driven, it is generally also more mathematical in which you have a fair amount of knowledge in mathematics. Graduates can find themselves having a wide range of careers to choose from by using their knowledge for careers in business, government, education, journalism, international affairs and many more as economics is a versatile area of discipline that covers many aspects in various industries.
To qualify and land a career in a field of economics, a degree in economics is highly recommended or an economics major within a general degree. A few personal skills are also required, including strong analytical, quantitative and mathematical skills and data processing and statistical modelling skills; skills in computer science can also be beneficial.
The list of employers for economics graduates is extensive and also come from all kinds of industries that include:
- Environmental management
- Foreign affairs or international development
- Government or politics
- Information technology
- Infrastructure and transport
- International finance, investment, insurance and trade
- Marketing and tourism
- Natural resource and agricultural economics
- Public health
- Teaching and education
A bachelor’s degree in economics can lead graduates to entry-level business careers in various companies ranging from small businesses, large companies, banks or financial service firms. Some business job options that graduates can find themselves having include:
- Bank teller
- Budget analyst
- Market analyst
- Sales intern
- Insurance agent
Graduates with a degree in economics are very popular for civil servants in the government, especially if you want to work in any of the ministries. In addition, graduates can find themselves working in the government in careers such as:
- Research assistants
Graduates can also find themselves working in journalism. Although the work of journalists typically require a degree related to English or journalism, economists who understand and can express economic terms and theories to the public are also needed. Careers in journalism can include:
- Business writer or editor
- Freelance writer
- Economic affairs specialist
- Business journalist
According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), there are a few skills that are in demand to support the growth of key economic sectors in Singapore. Skills that are in demand that have a recommended qualification of a degree in economics come from the finance industry in occupations including1:
- Compliance managers
- Risk management managers
- Fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) sales/traders
- Investment management professionals
- Project management professionals
- Research analysts and structurers in shipping, aviation, commodities, infrastructure finance, and real estate
- Underwriters and actuaries in marine hull, aviation, energy, political risk, terrorism and agriculture insurance
Statistics show that those working in the economics department with an economics bachelor’s degree consists of 32% female and 68% male with the average salary of S$25,200 – S$72,000 and S$34,905 – S$94,000 respectively2.
Through the annual Graduate Employment Survey (GES) conducted by NTU, NUS and SMU, Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) published the results of key employment indicators for 2014 in early 2015 that could help students in decision making for their course as well as future career. 13,656 graduates from the three universities were surveyed and the results showed that degree in economics, there is an overall employment rate of 90.2% and a full-time permanent employment rate of 83.9% with an average gross monthly salary of S$3,6453.
1 mom.gov.sg, Skills-in-demand list, 2015
2 Payscale.com, Bachelor’s Degree Economics Average Salary, 2015
3 Ministry of Education Singapore, Graduate Employment Survey, 2015