The Economics Network

Improving economics teaching and learning for over 20 years

Employability and Entrepreneurship

In October 2023, Inomics Teach published an overview article by Lory Barile, Steven Proud, and Atisha Ghosh on "How (and why) can we embed employability within economics degrees?". It links to a lot of related resources on this site and elsewhere.

Economics Network publications

Employability Skills in UK Economics Degrees

This collaborative project involved the Economics Network and universities around the UK. See the summary, full report (PDF), notes from focus group discussions, and employability case studies.

Economics departments and employers seem to largely prioritise the same skills areas, namely communication, application to the real world and data analysis. However, employers say that economics graduates do not have high levels of skill in these areas.

There is a lot happening in economics degrees that is going in the right direction. Economics departments are taking responsibility for employability skills, working with careers services and societies.

Employer Survey 2019

A summary and full report are available for this survey of 40 employers which asked about desirable skills for Economics graduates, as well as the skills in which current graduates or strong or are lacking.

The two most common skills to be rated as ‘very’ important are abstraction (defined here as the ability to simplify complexity while still retaining relevance) and an ability to analyse economic, business and social issues.

Eleven organisations listed applying economics to the real world as an area where economics graduates need the most development. 17 respondents gave answers pertaining to communication, for the most part written as well as to non-experts.

Employer Survey 2014-15

The 2014/15 survey was conducted with the support of the Government Economic Service and the Society of Business Economists. Read a summary of results, including comparisons to 2012, or the full report as a PDF.

Employers considered the ability to analyse economic, business and social issues, and the ability to organise, interpret and present quantitative data to be most important amongst economics graduates.

Employers most frequently considered the level of skill of economics graduates to be very high in using IT and computers. They most frequently considered the level of skill of economics graduates to be not very high for critical self-awareness.

Older surveys of employers and alumni are archived on the Surveys page.

External resources

Framework for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education (Advance HE)

"Developed in partnership with EEUK, IOEE, ISBE, SFEDI and the QAA the Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Framework is a resource to help institutions provide the right activities and experiences so that students can identify what is involved in being enterprising and entrepreneurial, helping them to navigate their future careers." Published November 2019.

Do professional year placements matter for job quality? The case of economics graduates

This 2023 paper by Panagiotis Arsenis and Miguel Flores examines the effect of an optional one-year professional placement on graduate outcomes.