International Monetary Fund


IMF Recruitment

Economist Program (EP)

September 21, 2018

Economist Program Overview

Are you a young economist PhD graduate wanting to make an impact on the world stage and make a real contribution to global issues and ongoing challenges?

The Economist Program (EP) is our main entry program for young, bright economists who want to accelerate their careers, gain exposure to a cross-section of Fund work, and apply their research and analysis to policy work that impacts the Fund's 189 member countries. As an EP, you will make a direct contribution to fostering global monetary cooperation, securing financial stability, facilitating international trade, promoting high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reducing poverty.

We are looking for candidates who are interested in building a career at the Fund and becoming our future leaders. At the end of the program, you are eligible for an open-ended appointment, but whether you remain in the Fund or move elsewhere, the program will provide an unparalleled foundation for an interesting and varied career as an economist.

What Economist Program Participants Do?

The EP is a structured, three-year development program in a highly collegial environment. From the start, you will work closely with experienced economists and be given considerable responsibility in carrying out operations-related analysis and research.

Over the course of the program, you will rotate through two departments doing real and meaningful economist work. In conjunction with your duties, you normally take part in two missions (business trips) during each assignment where you will interact with country authorities. You can read more about the work of IMF economists here.

As an EP participant, you can expect to:

  • Immediately apply your academic studies to current, real-life policy work that impacts our 189 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, highly collaborative and diverse environment, alongside some of the world’s best macroeconomists (Over 1500 economists work for the Fund.
  • Visit member countries to help develop and implement real life policies.
  • Receive world-class benefits and working conditions.
  • Participate in an extensive program to coach, guide and develop your skills as an economist.


Are you a recent PhD graduate or expecting to complete your PhD within a year of joining the Fund?

Do you have advanced training in economics with graduate level coursework in macroeconomics and advanced knowledge in an area of relevance for work in the Fund, such as international economics, monetary economics, public finance, econometrics, labor economics, poverty issues, and political economy?

Will you be below the age of 34 at the point of joining i.e. born on or after September 10, 1985 for the 2019 entry round? (If your birthday falls a few months short of this date we may be able to consider you on an exceptional basis.)

If you also meet the following criteria, please consider applying:

  • A superior academic record.
  • Fluency in English (both written and oral).
  • Strong analytical, quantitative, and computer skills.
  • Nationality of the Fund's member countries.
  • Availability to join on a full-time basis on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.
  • In addition to the above criteria, we highly value the following skills, interests and experiences:
  • Motivated by contributing significantly to the economic well-being of our members.
  • Able to demonstrate a sound understanding of macroeconomics (even if specialized in other areas during graduate school), able to utilize clear conceptual frameworks, and comfortable in navigating around the different sectors of an economy and the linkages between these sectors.
  • An interest in working on a combination of analytical, operational, and research work.
  • 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.
  • Capacity to write high quality policy papers as well as shorter targeted notes to guide the work of the Fund and its member countries.
  • A natural collaborator, exchanging information and ideas with others to reach common goals and making a substantial contribution to the team's work.
  • A willingness to travel.
  • Foreign language skills or willingness to learn another language. Languages other than English are useful but not a requirement.

Application Process and Timeline

We will post a job advert seeking applicants for the next EP on the IMF Current Vacancies webpage later September. Only applications submitted though this advert will be considered.

Shortlisting and interviewing will take place from October through early January and offers will be sent out in February. We typically aim to hire between 20 and 30 EPs who start in September of the same year.

Before submitting your application, you may find it helpful to review the general information for applicants in the Current Vacancies section.

Dates for the 2018/19 selection process and mission schedule will be posted here.

Selection Process

EPs are selected through a multi-phased process:

1. Preliminary Interviews

If your application is shortlisted, you will be contacted for a 30-40-minute preliminary interview. During this interview, you will be asked to provide a high-level overview of your job market or research paper, respond to an interpersonal question and answer questions on macroeconomics and related fields.

Preliminary interviews may be offered during campus visits, career fair visits, by video, or by phone. If we are visiting a campus near you, we encourage you to submit your application at least one week in advance of that campus visit so we can schedule an onsite interview if you are shortlisted.

Following the preliminary interview, we may request the following information to support our assessment:

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

2. Panel Interview Stage

If you reach this stage, you will be invited to the IMF Headquarters in Washington, DC for a 45-60-minute panel interview. The panel will consist of three senior IMF economists and an HR Officer. The interview will assess your analytical and problem-solving abilities; judgment; oral communication skills; general knowledge of macroeconomics and related fields; and behavioral skills. Questions will focus primarily on monetary, fiscal, balance of payments, and financial sector issues.

In parallel with the panel interview, you will be asked to:

  • Complete a 90 minute writing test to assess your drafting skills and analytical abilities. This will require you to summarize and provide a short critical commentary on one of two provided working papers and prepare a brief (one-and-a-half to two pages) summary and critical commentary on one of three provided working papers and prepare a brief (one-and-a-half to two pages) summary and critical commentary.
  • Take a 45 minute online psychometric assessment designed to identify preferred behavioral skills and approaches.
  • Submit a research paper (ideally of publishable standard) or one or two chapters of your dissertation.

3. Offers

We will consider your performance during each assessment to determine which candidates will receive offers. In addition, other factors, such as the particular skills sets most needed by the institution and diversity, may also be taken into consideration in the final selection.

Frequently Asked Questions

What would I do as an EP?

EP assignments are designed to provide a well-rounded experience in regional and country-specific issues, as well as in fiscal, monetary, balance of payments, debt, or related issues. The EP is not a traineeship, you will be given real work and responsibilities as an economist from the start with the intention of quickly developing a broad set of skills and experiences. See the Economist pages for more details on the work of IMF economists.

Is there an opportunity to conduct research?

We encourage our staff to keep informed of latest developments in their field and this includes an active research agenda. Fund staff publish reports, working papers, and contribute to books and journals on a wide range of topics. Furthermore, with one of the largest bodies of economists in one place, you will find many opportunities to discuss, work, and collaborate with others. Your work as an economist will also lead to many ideas which could be explored further through research. However, your capacity to produce research papers can depend on your specific assignment, the relevance of the research to the broader work of the Fund, and your ability to balance multiple demands on your time. We also have an extensive roster of visiting scholars, training sessions and briefing which offers opportunities to broaden your learning, liaise with leading academics, and maintain your awareness of the emerging developments in your field.

How are assignments determined?

One assignment is in an area department dealing with country-specific issues; the other assignment is normally in a functional department dealing with fiscal, monetary, balance-of-payments, debt or other issues. In determining your department assignment, your preferences will be taken into account along with the business needs for the specific positions and the overall objectives of the program.

What is the career progression for former EPs?

The IMF EP provides a superb grounding for a career in economics and related fields and graduates of the program have gone on to have successful careers. While most EPs remain at the Fund upon completion of the program, many of whom have become our current leaders, former EPs have also gone on to hold high profile roles in areas such as academia, central banks and ministries, international development and financial intuitions.

How does the Fund support the development of EPs?

As an EP, you can access training courses on IMF policies and operations, software applications, written and oral communications, and may be eligible to receive language instruction. Participants also have the opportunity to participate in an extensive range of economics training seminars from visiting scholars, external experts, and in-house economists aimed at enhancing and maintaining your knowledge of the latest academic research and approaches.

EPs receive guidance and support from more senior economists within their department who will coach and guide you in your assignment and duties. This is supported by our performance management process which is designed to set out clearly your objectives, and facilitate the provision of regular two-way feedback discussions with your manager.

The EP is overseen by a standing committee consisting of senior representatives from each department hosting an EP. The Human Resources Department also maintains a desk dedicated to the ongoing running of the EP and ensuring you have the support you need.

What are the Salary and Benefits?

Economists selected for the EP are offered a highly competitive salary and benefits package. For more details, please see Working for the IMF.

How many EPs do you hire?

We hire annually between 20 and 30 EPs who start in September each year.

Can the age limit be waived?

The program is intended for newly minted PhD candidates with limited or no work experience. Very rarely, exceptions to the age limit may be considered if your birthday is close to the cut off date.

How should I prepare for the panel interview?

The EP panel interview will explore how you approach the core economic issues you are likely to face as on a regular basis as a Fund economist. Panel interviewers will examine your ability to link issues, apply your learning and think logically through situations. To prepare, you should refresh your knowledge of core macroeconomics and keep yourself current on world financial and economic events. You should also ensure you know your working paper well, have thought through the broader implications of your work, and have considered how the outcomes could apply to the Fund.

What should be submitted for the working paper?

A working paper or sections of your dissertation will be requested if you are invited to the panel interview selection stage. While a sole-authored paper is preferable, it is more important that you submit the document that best showcases your research skills. If you are submitting a coauthored paper, please ensure all authors are clearly marked. If there are certain sections that particularly highlight your contributions, please mark these.

The paper reviewers will look at various factors including clarity of arguments, logic of analysis, innovativeness of approach, how the paper adds to the knowledge base in the area studies, broader implications and applicability of conclusions.

When would I receive an offer?

Offers are typically made in early to mid-February for a start date in September. If you are offered a position in the EP, you 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.

Can I get feedback on my performance during the selection process?

If you have reached at least the preliminary interview stage, general feedback can be given on request. Ratings and rankings are not shared with candidates