People working in economic development come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some have been economists, others have been lawyers. Some are marketers, others have been urban planners. Some are developers, others have owned their own businesses. And there are many other backgrounds besides these.
This diversity reflects both the breadth of economic development issues/opportunities and the range of responses that organisations charged with the economic betterment of their community can select from.
Economic developers have been interested in the development of their regional workforce for many years with some producing workforce development strategies to align with the economic drivers in their local economies. The University of Technology Sydney has recently released workforce planning guidelines to improve Tasmanian local government understanding of this topic.
However, to my knowledge, there has been little work undertaken to develop a workforce strategy for the economic development sector, despite the increasing range of job opportunities in this area.
I think it is unlikely that a consistent set of entry qualifications for economic development workers will be mandated any time in the foreseeable future – and I don’t think that would necessarily be useful either. However, to establish a base level of professionalism in the sector, initiatives such as economic development Australia’s accreditation system is useful.
As an aside, should anyone with a background in international trade, entrepreneurship or marketing be interested in progressing their career in economic development I am currently recruiting for an Economic Growth Coordinator based at Mawson Lakes. Please give me a call!