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Economist, Household Consumption in China (Beijing based)

Position Summary:

The main objective of the position is to establish The Conference Board as a thought leader in the business community on household consumption trends, dynamics and developments in China. This is a Beijing based job.

The Economist on Household Consumption in China (Economist) will undertake short-, medium- and long-term analyses of consumer market trends and developments in China, and also study the demographic, labor market, and policy factors shaping and influencing household consumption in China. Economist will undertake data collection, assembly and analytical constructions to support his/her analyses and create distinctive and illuminating research outputs.

The Economist will draft China Center research deliverables, in English, based on these analyses, and in accordance with the agreed research plan. The production process comprises:

  1. Driving the ideation new analyses that can add value to China Center members;
  2. Creating distinctive charts and graphs and frameworks that illuminate interesting and insightful trends for members;
  3. Drafting narrative or talking points that explain the economic phenomenon in the charts and graphs, and the high-level business implications for members;
  4. Drafting final, member-ready deliverables to 90% or more completion levels.

The Economist is expected to track policy and political-economy developments related to these areas, and China’s macro-economy in general, and collaborate with the China Center and global Conference Board team members to interpret policy and political-economy developments and assess their impact on China’s consumption drivers and the China business environment for China Center members.

The Economist will also contribute to conceptualizing and providing PPT-based analysis, charts, and narrative for China Center member events, meetings and webcasts, etc. The Economist will be expected, on occasion, to present his or her analyses to members and at public forums, conferences, etc.

A solid background in economic research, an understanding of the structural features of the Chinese economy and policy environment, excellent analytical skills, and solid structured thinking and English drafting skills are key prerequisites for the job.

Reporting Relationship

The Consumer Markets Economist will report on a day-to-day basis to the Resident Economist of the China Center, with input and coaching from both the Managing Director of The China Center and The Conference Board Chief Economist in New York.

Principal Direct Activities

The main objectives for the Consumer Markets Economist are:

  1. Research and Analysis:
    • Driving ideation on concepts, and business questions, and premises on household consumption, consumer markets, and related areas as inputs to: the Key Business Issue (KBI) program, the annual China Center research plan, regular member deliverables, and spontaneous or ad hoc member deliverables driven by unexpected events.
    • To produce “final draft-level” member deliverables according to the research plan, regular team meeting decisions, and spontaneous needs that arise due to economic and policy events.
    • To produce designated charts and slides for China Center and Conference Board member meetings, events and webcasts, etc.
  2. Economic and Policy Knowledge Gathering:
    • To monitor Chinese news, information, policy, and scholarship channels to extract early insights on economic and policy developments. To inform China Center team members about such insights.
    • To initiate and socialize ideas and concepts for research projects, outputs, member deliverables and value-adding analyses based on market, economic and policy information gathering activities.
  3. Data Management:
    • To master, fully leverage, and contribute to the various Conference Board data resources available, e.g. the Total Economy Database and International Labor Comparisons, Database, etc.
    • To support the good management of designated China Center data resources – organizing, updating, cleansing, and filing, etc. Continually monitoring and evaluating new sources of data.
  4. Engagement/Outreach
    • As and when appropriate, to present his/her Consumer Market points-of-view and analyses at member meetings and public forums.
  5. Other
    • To undertake other projects as assigned.


Within the range of activities summarized above, the Economist on Household Consumption in China is responsible for maintaining and continually advancing his/her professional expertise in the overall research, publication, and information service activities in his/her designated activities. This position requires that Economist remains vigilant in advancing the Board's strong reputation for highest-quality, compelling and thought-provoking product.

Key Performance Measures

The general key performance measures for the position are fourfold:

  • Meeting agreed deliverable targets (for quality and timeliness)
  • Peer feedback on contributions made to TCB research programs
  • Member feedback on the quality and relevance of output
  • Demonstrated innovation in improving the quality and relevance TCB work

Desired Qualifications and Requirements:

The Economist position as outlined requires strong economic credentials and relevant experience in empirical economic research. Candidate should have solid knowledge of the structural and cyclical dynamics of consumption, and the policy and institutional factors that shape consumption. Experience in comparative analysis – i.e. China vis-à-vis other countries and over time – is important. Ideally, Candidate will have some experience analyzing economic trends and consumption impacts at the city levels in China.

Candidate should be able to appraise and validate data and information quality in order to distill out an accurate picture of what’s really happening with consumption in China.

Candidate should have good grasp of and insight into China policy, political economy and socio-economic issues as well – and understand the impacts these and other factors have on household consumption.

Candidate should be able to connect economic issues to the business planning issues faced by our member companies in their real business related to the Chinese economy – i.e. the outlook for demand, stability, and/or volatility in pricing, risks of shocks, etc.

Candidate should have excellent math, spreadsheet and writing skills and a familiarity with the sources and quality of data. Proficiency in the Windows environment using Microsoft Office products is necessary, especially Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Candidate should be creative, work flexible hours and have the capacity to work in a team environment.

Candidate should have proven structured thinking and English drafting skills. Written and spoken English does not have to be perfect, but candidate’s point of view and arguments in English must be clear, comprehensible and compelling.

M.A. Economics or higher preferred. B.A. Economics considered if accompanied by strong substantive working experience in economics.