Research Director

The Research team provides cross-functional support to enhance WBC’s thought leadership in attracting, expanding and retaining businesses, promoting Chicago as a global business destination, and designing and scaling initiatives for economic growth.

Job Summary

The Research Director is responsible for leading the Research team on key initiatives, requests for information, and cross-functional project teams. The individual is a self-starter, hard-working, and eager to engage in an “all-hands-on-deck” small-team environment and a passion for applying research to drive economic development in Chicago through WBC’s mission and goals. The position is full-time and reports to the Executive Vice President of Strategy and Administration.


  • Provides analytical support to advance WBC’s economic development initiatives;
  • Develops, implements, and oversees outcomes-based measurement tools supporting transparency and accountability;
  • Responds to requests for information from prospective companies and partner organizations and serves as research support liaison to the Mayor’s office;
  • Manages Research Department staff and budget;
  • Builds and maintains broad network of research partners to support WBC’s role as convening entity, centralize citywide research efforts as they relate to WBC initiatives, and identify potential areas for dialogue and collaboration;
  • Manages external consultants on targeted pro bono research studies;
  • Tracks region-wide economic indicators including business expansion and contraction activity to gauge the strength of Chicago’s economy;
  • Publishes news briefs annually with regular monthly and quarterly newsletter contributions;
  • Supervises maintenance and development of knowledge base, internal databases, reports, and presentations for reference on inquiries, client presentations, industry analysis, and other research needs;
  • Collaborates with WBC Marketing staff on media inquiries, talking points, annual report, etc.;
  • Reviews and critiques third-party studies and reports on the Chicago economy/business environment

Skills & Experience Requirements

  • Master’s degree in economics, urban planning, public policy or related field
  • 8+ years of relevant work experience including prior management or leadership experience
  • Demonstrated cross-functional collaboration and communication skills, and creative approaches to problem-solving with limited resources
  • Strong sense of organization, time management, and attention to detail
  • Analytical background and experience using diverse data sources for economic development research
  • Excellent overall computer proficiency, including ArcGIS/ESRI, Carto or other mapping software; Salesforce; MS Office; Adobe Design Suite; WordPress

If interested, please send resume and cover letter to