A city's robust economy can improve the quality of life for the citizens who live there. In economic development, professionals aim to transform areas so that they're appealing to residents and businesses. If you're contemplating working in economic development, then it may be helpful to review the employment opportunities and their job responsibilities. In this article, we define economic development and explore 14 career options within the industry.
What is economic development?
Economic development is a principle that considers the financial prosperity of a city or region. It ensures that residents in an area live fulfilling lives and have access to quality resources, such as safe, affordable housing, healthcare and schooling. Economic development also focuses on improving the economy, implementing businesses and infrastructure that can positively contribute to the community. Professionals who work in economic development often seek employment at the following places:
- Nonprofit organizations
- Government agencies
- Private sectors
14 careers related to economic development
If you're interested in working in economic development, the following careers may interest you:
1. Project coordinator
Average salary: $46,686 per year
Primary duties: A project coordinator performs administrative duties during a large-scale project, such as the construction of a building or the launch of a new product. Reporting to project managers, coordinators monitor company spending to ensure the project maintains its budget, and they help anticipate challenges. They also establish goals for the team of professionals and evaluate the success of the project.
2. Recreation manager
Average salary: $51,660 per year
Primary duties: A recreation manager organizes and schedules enrichment activities and programs for the community. Gathering financial resources for the event, recreation managers promote the event to the public to encourage attendance, and they coordinate shifts for volunteers and employees. They also supervise the activities to ensure they run smoothly.
3. Market research analyst
Average salary: $55,947 per year
Primary duties: A market research analyst collects data on consumers' spending habits, which helps companies forecast the success of new products. They also supervise activities from competitors and identify trends in the market. Often working with organizational leaders or clients, market research analysts compile their findings into reports and recommend ways to build promotional strategies.
4. Program director
Average salary: $62,189 per year
Primary duties: A program director oversees the economic development process. Monitoring available land in the area, program directors decide what businesses can occupy a space and boost the local economy. Directors also aim to expand a company's presence in other cities, and they create incentives to attract more business owners.
Average salary: $63,698 per year
Primary duties: A surveyor observes an area to determine if it's sustainable for construction. Before building a new infrastructure, such as a bridge or water system, surveyors measure the space and assess the foundation, documenting their findings into reports. For example, if a city wants to build a new community center, the surveyor visits the vacant lot and describes the land, and their measurements help landowners establish boundaries between their properties and neighboring properties.
6. Social and community service manager
Average salary: $69,900 per year
Primary duties: A social and community service manager helps create and maintain programs that aid certain demographics, such as children and senior citizens. By creating proposals, social and community service managers can show stakeholders how programs can have a positive impact on the community. They form data analysis to illustrate the benefits of the programs, and they manage the team of social workers who help execute the guidelines of the proposal.
7. Urban and regional planner
Average salary: $70,935 per year
Primary duties: An urban planner is a professional who plans how a city uses land. Aiming to benefit the community, urban planners assess factors such as the environment, market trends and population size to determine whether to accept a proposal. Some urban planners work with transportation specifically while others work to preserve historic sites or urban areas.
Average salary: $72,355 per year
Primary duties: A cartographer is a professional who compiles geographic details to make the dimensions on maps more accurate. Working with urban and regional planners, cartographers use satellite footage and surveys to determine the exact dimensions of an area of land. They also design maps that are easy for users to understand and interpret.
9. Chief administrative officer
Average salary: $78,043 per year
Primary duties: A chief administrative officer (CAO) manages the daily operations of a company. Creating milestones for every department, the CAO ensures employees remain productive, and the organization makes progress toward its goals. They also establish an organizational budget and appoint professionals in managerial positions.
10, Civil engineer
Average salary: $86,294 per year
Primary duties: A civil engineer designs transportation fixtures, including subways, railroads and bridges. As a similar occupation to economic development, civil engineers often work with urban and regional planners to bring land proposals to fruition. They monitor progress in the building process and perform maintenance on the fixtures once engineers finish construction.
11. Management analyst
Average salary: $86,674 per year
Primary duties: A management analyst is a professional who works to improve a company's financial resources. Also known as an economic development consultant, an analyst consults with organizational leaders to make operations more cost-effective and reduce overspending. They also help develop emergency response protocols.
12. Land development project manager
Average salary: $80,092 per year
Primary duties: A land development project manager supervises construction on a property, making sure the building process progresses smoothly and timely. After identifying a suitable piece of land, the project manager fulfills zoning requirements and consults with a team of engineers about construction. The land development projects comprise new residential properties and industrial buildings.
Average salary: $104,615 per year
Primary duties: An architect is a professional who creates blueprints for new infrastructure. In economic development, an architect's goal is to design a building that's suitable for the community. They also prioritize the aesthetic appeal of a design, which can capture the attention of business owners and encourage them to expand or relocate to a new city.
Average salary: $111,497 per year
Primary duties: An economist studies data to predict trends in the market and the ways the public consumes goods and services. Using surveys and other research procedures, economists develop statistics on concepts such as employment rates, inflation and electricity. They also report their findings to organizations, such as banks and government agencies, to help save them money.