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The occupation-industry mismatch: New trajectories for regional cluster analysis and economic development

This article is a natural extension of the current discussion on occupational clustering and economic growth. It is argued that, while there has been increased interest in the role of occupations, little has been done from a methodological and empirical approach to discover how the study of occupations can illuminate the study of industry. Prior work in cluster analysis has generally taken an ‘either/or’ approach towards occupational and industrial analysis. Porter’s clustering model has illuminated the cross-fertilising linkages across industries, but this is only half the story. It is argued that what drives these clusters is not only the industry, but also the people and their occupational skills and, therefore, such analysis must be expanded. Using the case of the IT sector in Los Angeles, the industry approach is combined with an ‘occupational cluster analysis’. It is concluded that this approach leads to a better understanding of regional competitiveness and growth.