Economic development officers (EDOs) support and improve the local economy by encouraging investment, attracting new businesses and creating new jobs. They usually work for local authorities, and have the task of drawing up and carrying out their economic plans. They are also known as Regeneration Officers, or have a name relating to a specific project.
You could be:
writing the Economic Development Strategy for a local authority
setting up and managing projects and their budgets
locating and bidding for new sources of funding – local, national or European
conducting surveys and monitoring economic trends
attracting new employers into the area, maintaining new business contacts and records of local companies
informing councillors about local economic issues
giving information about projects to local residents and businesses
helping voluntary and community groups to bid for grants and organising employment and training schemes
organising local business and careers fairs and promoting tourism in your local area.
If you work in a large authority you might specialise in a particular field of economic development such as inward investment or business start up.
The figures below are only a guide.
Most economic development officers are on the local authority salary scales, which vary from area to area. Starting salary for an economic development officer is usually around £23,000. An experienced officer may earn up to £45,000 a year.
With promotion you might earn anything up to £50,000 a year, sometimes more.
You work from an office but would have to travel to meetings with local businesses and organisations such as Chambers of Commerce and enterprise companies.
You would work around 35 hours a week but you might have to work evenings and weekends to attend career fairs or public meetings.
There are no set entry requirements, but most EDOs have a degree or relevant professional qualification.
A degree in any subject is acceptable, but business studies, economics, estate management, geography, marketing or planning are most relevant.
Entry to a degree (SCQF Levels 9-10) course usually requires 4-5 Highers.
Experience in the field of economics and understanding of local government are useful.
Some entrants start as business development or economic development assistants and work their way up.
You might need a driving licence for some posts.
Jobs are with local authorities and organisations such as Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Local enterprise companies and voluntary sector regeneration organisations also employ EDOs. Look for vacancies in specialist websites such as www.myjobscotland.gov.uk, Find a Job and local council websites, or in newspapers and Jobcentre Plus offices.
What Does it Take?
You should have:
excellent verbal and written communication skills
excellent organisational and project management skills
good negotiation skills
the ability to work with a wide range of people including unemployed people, local councillors and business leaders
good business sense.
You should be:
enthusiastic and motivated
good at networking
able to work under pressure to meet deadlines
able to manage budgets and to analyse and explain figures
computer literate and confident using spreadsheet packages.
Training is mainly on the job or through short courses.