The job market for economists is not only a fascinating subject in its own right but is also talked about in coffee rooms the length and breadth of the economics speaking world. Even contented and established economists like to have some notion of their market price.
This is an excellent recently published paper by John Crawly called:
A GUIDE (AND ADVICE) FOR ECONOMISTS ON THE U. S. JUNIOR ACADEMIC JOB MARKET (PDF)
On one hand it makes for scary reading but on the other it is reassuring to see how much more competitive the UK market is these days. I would even hazard to suggest that the combination of pay and conditions makes working in the UK a comparable option.
Some numbers from the paper:
There were 960 PhDs in Economics in the US last year. 70% men and 33% US citizens. The 2000 number was 948 and 903 in 2002.
The number of advertised jobs however was 1,715 (not all junior).
Key areas: Mathematical and QM, Micro, Macro and Monetary, International, IO. Agricultural and Natural Resource sneaked in there further down (this is particular to the US where huge farming subsidies make agriculture a viable industry).
So to the business end:
Starting salary for a top 30 US institution = £91,807 falling to £60,588 for a non-PhD granting institution.
Average starting course load = 3.5 -5.6 courses per year depending on institution.
So how does this compare with the UK?
The very top Universities such as the LSE, UCL and LBS probably pay more in $ terms at the moment - the relative weakness of the $ against the £ helps here. Provincial Universities I would guess are around the non-PhD mark in the US or slightly higher.
Work loads in general are probably lower on average than the US (considerably so in some cases) plus all positions are tenured.
Thus, for the same pay new staff can get tenure and a lower work load. Given the small numbers of UK citizens completing economics PhDs these days we may well need such an influx of overseas talent.