Industrial Economist

Economists study the ways societies use resources such as land, labour, raw material and machinery to produce goods and services. Industrial economists focus on the effect of factors such as government policy, international trade regulations and labour relations on the sectors in which businesses operate.

Industrial economists consider all social, political and other factors (locally and abroad) that have an effect on the economy. At least four different types of industrial economists can be identified:

Those employed at large corporations on a full-time basis gather information, assess the impact of industrial economic factors on the organisation and advise top management accordingly.

Those at educational institutions conduct ongoing research and deliver lectures. Their approach to the subject should be creative and they may develop original economic theories based on research. Large corporations sometimes seek the professional advice of these economists.

Techno-economists are research-orientated and are normally employed by research institutions such as the CSIR. They usually have additional qualifications in a technical or scientific field.
Business economists are employed by corporations in the private sector as financial, marketing, production or general managers. Their responsibility is to identify areas of potential benefit or disaster and make recommendations to senior management.

Personal Requirements

  • good literacy and numerical skills
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • understand statistics and data manipulation
  • methodical and inquiring mind
  • initiative and interest in local and international economic affairs
  • creative, thorough and analytic approach to problem-solving
  • accurate and objective
  • enjoy detailed work
  • mathematical ability and abstract reasoning
  • able to analyse and interpret information

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: Various degrees with appropriate subjects are offered at most universities

Post-graduate study: Postgraduate degrees in Economics - NMMU, UNISA, UJ, or Business Economics - UNISA, will enable economists to get promotions more readily and will qualify them for more responsible research and administrative positions as well as for permanent teaching positions in universities and universities of technology.


  • universities and universities of technology
  • research organisations
  • large companies
  • manufacturing firms
  • mines
  • agricultural firms
  • financial institutions
  • marketing firms
  • consulting firms
  • government departments
  • self-employment, with enough experience, can open own business and work as a consultant

Further Information

The various universities and/or any of the potential employers mentioned above.

Getting Started

  • arrange to speak to an industrial economist about this type of career and the possibility of vacation work
  • take a course in economics and read a leading financial newspaper daily and if possible, overseas publications

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer