International Monetary Fund

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IMF Recruitment

Economist Program (EP)

September 25, 2014

We are seeking the world’s top, young macroeconomists for the next intake of our Economist Program (EP).

If you are looking for an international career in a renowned global institution, the IMF’s EP could be right for you. As an Economist on the IMF’s EP, you can expect to:

  • Immediately apply your academic studies to current, real-life policy work that impacts our 188 member countries.
  • Perform a combination of analytical, research and operational work.
  • Undertake varied assignments and work on different countries and regions.
  • Work in an intellectually, challenging and diverse environment, alongside some of the world’s best macroeconomists.
  • Receive world-class benefits and working conditions.

Next EP Start Date Current Application Period
Tuesday, September 8, 2015 September 25 - November 17, 2014

About the Economist Program

The EP is an entry-level program for talented, recent PhD graduates in macroeconomics, finance, public finance, monetary economics, international economics, international trade, poverty issues, political economy, or econometrics who are interested in pursuing a career in international economics and finance. It is a 3-year program specifically designed to enable participants to quickly gain operational experience and further develop macroeconomics expertise. Economists in the EP are given full professional responsibilities to carry out operations-related analysis, and to apply their studies and research to policy work that impacts the Fund's 188 member countries.

Each year, the Fund hires about 20 to 30 of the best young graduates from around the world. Economists in the EP undertake assignments to enable them gain well-rounded experience in regional and country-specific issues, as well as in fiscal, monetary, balance of payments, debt, or other issues. They also travel to countries they are assigned where they interact with country authorities and carry out operational work related to the IMF's mission. In addition to their work assignments, they undertake a range of training and development activities and are mentored, guided, and supported by seasoned Economists. Upon successful completion of the EP, Economists take up career positions at the IMF. See Economists for more details on the work of IMF economists. EPs usually join as a group in September each year.


To be eligible for the EP, candidates must be recent PhD graduates or would complete a PhD within a year (or less) of joining, and be available to join on a full time basis on the start date indicated above. A PhD in a field such as macroeconomics, finance, public finance, monetary economics, international economics, international trade, poverty issues, political economy, or econometrics would be most relevant. Candidates must meet the EP eligibility criteria to be considered. In addition, successful candidates must demonstrate preferred knowledge, skills, and abilities. The EP is very competitive - over 1,500 candidates apply annually for about 20 to 40 positions.

Candidates must:

  • Possess a superior academic record.
  • Have a good command of English (both written and oral).
  • Demonstrate strong analytical, quantitative, and computer skills.
  • Show an interest in, and aptitude for, working in teams in an international organization, especially on economic policy issues.
  • Be from one of the Fund's member countries.
  • Be below the age of 34 at the point of joining if selected.

In addition to the above criteria, the ideal candidate would:

  • Be interested in undertaking a combination of analytical, operational, and research work.
  • Understand and value the work of policy-oriented institutions.
  • Be strong in their field of expertise, but versatile and flexible in learning other areas.
  • Have a strong understanding of macroeconomics, be able to work within a clear conceptual framework, and be comfortable navigating around the different sectors of an economy, and understand the linkages between these sectors.
  • Be capable of writing high quality policy papers as well as shorter targeted notes to guide the work of the Fund and its member countries.
  • Be able to work in teams toward a common goal, making a significant contribution to the team's work, sharing information within the team, and coaching junior staff.
  • Be prepared to travel.
  • Have foreign language skills or be willing to learn another language, if needed.

How do we select EPs?

EPs are selected through a multi-phased process. Each component is assigned a weighting, as identified in the table below.

Component Standard
Weighting (%)
Economist Panel Interview 80
Job Market Paper or Key Research Paper
Preliminary Interview
Writing Test
References 20
Academic Grades
Psychometric Assessment

Phase 1

Complete an online application during the EP application period. Before submitting your application, you may find it helpful to review the general information for applicants in the Current Vacancies section. We will only contact candidates who are short listed.

Phase 2

Shortlisted candidates participate in a 30 to 40-minute preliminary interview. During this interview, candidates are asked to provide a high level overview of their job market or key research paper, and to answer questions on macroeconomics and related fields.

Preliminary interviews are either in person – during campus visits, at IMF headquarters, and at the American Economic Association Annual Meeting— or by phone.

Following the preliminary interview, we may also request the following to facilitate our assessment of your suitability for phase 3:

  • Most recent university transcript from the PhD studies; and
  • Three academic references (not from current IMF staff).

Phase 3

Candidates invited to this phase are required to submit the following:

  • A sole authored research paper (ideally of publishable standard) or one or two chapters of their dissertation. The document submitted should be 25 pages or less.

Candidates participate in a full-day selection process at IMF Headquarters in Washington DC, comprising:

  • A 45-60 minute interview with a panel of three senior IMF economists and a HR Officer. The interview is designed to assess candidates’ analytical abilities; judgment; oral communication skills; and general knowledge of macroeconomics and related fields. Questions focus primarily on monetary, fiscal, balance of payments, and financial sector issues rather than a candidate's dissertation or job market paper.
  • A 90 minute writing test during which the candidate is asked to select one of three working papers and prepare a brief (one-and-a-half to two page) summary and critical commentary. The purpose of the test is to assess candidates’ drafting skills and analytical abilities.
  • A 30-45 minutes online psychometric test designed to assesses candidates’ behavioral skills.


The IMF will consider each candidate’s performance in each component, as well as their overall rating, to determine which candidates will receive offers. In addition, other factors, such as diversity and particular skills sets needed by the institution, may also be considered. Candidates who are offered a position in the EP typically need to respond within a few days. Offers are only binding for the current recruitment year and do not extend to the following year. Ratings and rankings are not shared with candidates.

Due to the large volume of applications, unfortunately, we are unable to offer feedback.

Salary and Benefits

Economists selected for the EP are offered a competitive salary and benefits – please see Working for the IMF.

How to Apply

If you are interested in being considered for the IMF’s EP, please submit your application online during the application period indicated above. EP applications should be submitted through the Current Vacancies section.

The IMF is committed to achieving diverse staff including gender, nationality, culture and educational background.