Department of Economics at Illinois State University Department of Economics at Illinois State University Department of Economics at Illinois State University

Career Experiences of Economic Graduates

An Economics degree qualifies students for a variety of careers. Based on Departmental surveys, approximately half our graduating majors begin their careers in management-oriented, general entry-level positions in business. Of the remainder, one-quarter obtain sales positions, one-eighth work in research positions in business and government and one-tenth are employed in computer-related positions. The following is a partial list of job titles and employers of recent Illinois State graduates who majored in Economics.

Job Title/Employer

Consultant/American Management Systems
Consultant/Ernst and Young, LLP
Consultant/Hewitt Associates
Project Manager/Agracel, Inc.
Programmer/Anderson Consulting
Personal Banker/Success National Bank
Pricing Management Rep./Baxter International
Senior Credit Underwriter/Household International
Claim Processor/State Farm Insurance
Stockbroker/L.C. Wegard Co.
Loan Officer/Windsor Mortgage, Inc.
Account Executive/American Teletronics
Investment Rep./Investment Centers of America
Sales Rep./C. Ruffolo & Sons Corporation
Data Processing Specialist II/State Farm Ins.
Trader Assistant/Chicago Partnership Board
Closing Clerk/First of America Mortgage Co.
Account Coordinator/Wyle Laboratories
Trade Coordinator/Chicago Stock Exchange
Market Reporter/Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Tax Analyst/Forsythe McArthur Associates Inc.
Claims Rep./State Farm Insurance
Vice President of Operations/Reliable Office Superstore
Administrator/New York State Electric and Gas Corp.
Building Cost Analyst/Abbott Laboratories
Human Resources Assistant/Target
Benefit Consultant/Hewitt Associates
Assoc. Benefits Adjuster/Trustmark Ins. Co.

A degree in Economics is also excellent preparation for post-graduate study in a variety of fields. Many students with an undergraduate degree in Economics go on to earn their MBA. Other students pursue a master’s or Ph.D. in Economics or a related field such as Finance. An Economics degree is excellent preparation for law school. Many law schools around the country offer courses in Law and Economics and have added one or more Ph.D. economists to their faculty.

Regarding earnings potential, a study by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics examined the median income levels of people ages 25-64 with various undergraduate degrees, using salary data for 1993. Among men, economics majors had the seventh highest median income. Among women, economic majors had the highest median income.

Median Incomes of Mid-Career Men and Women with Bachelor’s Degrees




Engineering $53,286 *Economics *$49,170
Mathematics $51,584 Engineering $49,070
COmputer and Info. Sciences $50,509 Pharmacy $48,427
Pharmacy $50,480 Architecture $46,353
Physics $50,128 Computer and Info. Sciences $43,757
Accounting $49,500 All Mid-Career Women $32,115
*Economics *$49,377  
All Mid-Career Men $43,199  

To put these figures in perspective, consider that in 1993, the median income of year-round full-time workers was $31,077 for men and $22,469 for women. Median household income was approximately $36,959.

A National Association of Business Economists’ survey reported the following median starting salaries for business economists at different education levels: Bachelor’s, $29,005; Master’s degree, $35,005; Ph.D., $45,015; Average $35,005 (National Association of Business Economists, Salary Characteristics, 1996, Table 15). The Economics department at Illinois State routinely surveys its graduates to learn about their employment and earnings experiences. According to the results of those surveys, starting salaries for undergraduate majors in Economics at Illinois State are comparable to those reported by the NABE.