The best paid professional economist in the UK, who works for an investment bank, earns £1.5m, more than 10 times the remuneration of the Government's chief economic adviser. The typical remuneration for practitioners of the gloomy science is £77,800, according to the Society of Business Economists.
The best rewards are to be found in financial services, with average total cash compensation – salary, bonus, and shares – of £247,100 in investment banking and £159,900 in asset management. Economists with management consultancies and industry lag a little behind, at £134,700 and £104,200; pay rose by between 2.7 per cent (consulting) and 13.5 per cent (retail banking) in 2009.
The society reports a fall in the numbers responding which "perhaps speaks to a thinning of the ranks of business economists". The poor relations, by some margin, are academics, on £49,800 and in the public service, on £62,600, though some will make up part of the gap with final-salary pension schemes.
The differential rewards for those at the top of the different branches of the profession are starkest: that lucky investment banker on £1.5m dwarfs the most senior public appointments. By comparison, the Treasury's chief economic adviser, Dave Ramsden, gets £125,000 or so, the chief economist at the Bank of England, Spencer Dale receives £168,100 and Andrew Goudie, chief economic adviser to Alex Salmond, is on £135,000 and offer taxpayers outstanding value for money.
Still, as the Governor of the Bank, Mervyn King said at the Treasury Select Committee earlier this week, "as a rational economic man I'm more concerned with what I'm earning than what other people are", when asked his view on his future deputy, FSA boss Hector Sants, earning twice a much as him.Reuse content