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 £40,000 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.
- Flexitime is common.
- Working part time may be possible.
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- 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 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, Universal Jobmatch and local council websites, or in newspapers and Jobcentre Plus offices.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You should have:
- excellent verbal and written communication skills
- excellent organisation 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.
- The Institute of Economic Development offers courses in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) throughout your career. Visit the IED website for details.
- The University of Glasgow offers a full time postgraduate course in Finance and Economic Development.
- If you work in a larger local authority, you could be promoted to senior officer or principal officer.
- You might move to a different local authority to gain promotion.
- You might find work abroad through an overseas development agency or within the European Union.
- With a good deal of experience, you might become a self-employed economic development consultant.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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