Communication for economist is
absolutely vital. Most economists will be advising other people. If decision-makers
can’t understand what you’re saying then you might as well stay at home.
I served three heads of economics in the Government Economic Service
and they all taught me something about communication. Dave Ramsden taught me
that the more important the person is, the less likely they are to have time to listen to you. Vicky Pryce taught me that if all you can say is
“things are very difficult and complex” then you won’t be invited back, and Nick
Stern put it very simply and he said to convince somebody they generally have
to understand what you’re saying. I’m afraid the average academic isn’t
that great at communication. It’s not what they do for a living necessarily
but it’s absolutely vital for employability. The Economics Network is absolutely right to
concentrate on communication because it’s probably the biggest single barrier
to employability and public understanding of economics. It’s a big skills gap –
they’ve identified that – and the Economics Network is a very good
body to take this message out to improve the level of communication of economists.