What is economics? It’s much more than money

The Reserve Bank of Australia is one of the country's biggest employers of economists, including these two economics graduates, Zoya Dhillon and Ben Jackman.

Economics is a broad subject that helps you understand the world around you. At its core, it is the study of human decision-making and how best to use our limited resources. Economists care about trade-offs. They ask questions like: what are the costs and benefits of this decision? How can we balance efficiency and fairness? What will provide the most good for society?

So, why study it?

1. Amazing range of career paths

Woman's shoes with arrows painted on floor career pathways economics

An economics degree can take you into public policy, the health or environment sectors, international development, banking, finance, research or journalism – to name just a few. Whether it’s macroeconomics (the behaviour of the economy as a whole) or microeconomics (the behaviour of individual people, firms and markets) your economics skills will allow you to explore a wide range of issues.

2. Great earning potential

The skills you develop in learning economics are highly sought after and rewarded in the workplace. Researchers at the Reserve Bank of Australia (which employs a lot of economists!) found that economics graduates typically have higher full-time earnings than graduates from most other fields of study. And, according to Payscale.com, an economics graduate can expect a starting salary upwards of $75,000 a year, with that increasing to $130,000+ with more experience.

3. Make a difference


You might not have heard of him, but economist Muhammad Yunus has changed the fortunes of millions of people – particularly women – in impoverished nations, by pioneering microcredit: very small loans given to people too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Microcredit loans have enabled even the poorest of the poor to break out of poverty by setting up a small business. Muhammad and the Grameen Bank were awarded The Nobel Peace Prize, which shows how the application of economics can transform lives for the better.

4. Understand the world around you

Are you the kind of person that reads a headline or sees something happen and wonders why? Economics can equip you with the analytical and observational skills to seek answers to some of the biggest (and smallest) questions in day-to-day life; breaking down the problem into its working parts, thinking creatively, collecting and interrogating the numbers, analysing the bigger picture and applying those learnings.

– Bianca Nogrady

To get there: bit.ly/RBAEducation

This article is brought to you in partnership with the Reserve Bank of Australia.

STEM Contributor

Author: STEM Contributor

This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.


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