Focus on consumer

WHAT does a day in the life of a consumer economist entail?

WHAT does a day in the life of a consumer economist entail?

My day starts with looking at what's making the news in the financial media. I also analyse any economic data releases that come out with a view to how it will impact on consumers' financial positions.

Why did you decide on this career?

I only became a consumer economist last year when I joined Liberty Life. Prior to that I was an economist at the SA Reserve Bank doing mostly macroeconomic analysis and data estimation. Before that I was an economics lecturer at the University of Limpopo.

How did you get into this career?

I wanted to grow and expand my horizon to add to the valuable experience I got from Reserve Bank and look at both micro and macro-economic issues that affect decisions that businesses take on a daily basis. The customer is really at the centre of what Liberty Life insurance does, so it is important to provide part of the insight to both the business and our customers.

What is most challenging about being a consumer economist?

There's not always a one on one relationship between consumer behaviour and economic indicators - when that happens it's always challenging.

What do you enjoy the most in your job?

Condensing the myriad economic data out there to something my colleagues can use in the business.

What type of person will make it in this industry?

You have to be motivated to a make a difference in what you do, and believe in yourself too.

What subjects do you need to pass in high school to be able to study for this career?

Matric maths is necessary because economics can be quite technical.

What does one study at tertiary level to become a consumer economist?

A BCom or BA with economics as one of your major subjects.

What career opportunities exist for consumer economist?

For economists opportunities exist in the financial services sector, government and academics, for a consumer economist it would be with an employer where the customer is at the centre of their business, like me being in an insurance company.

What growth prospects are there for this career?

Plenty, because there's no limit to what you can do in terms of what drives consumer behaviour in relation to any given industry.

What is the starting salary for a consumer economist?

It's comparable to graduate salaries in the financial services sector.