Public relations officer

communications officer media relations officer press officer PR officer
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Print and publishing, marketing and advertising
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Career outlook for public relations officer

UK Salary Ranges

Entry-level

£18,000

Experienced

£50,000


Currently employed in Scotland

4,600

Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would create and maintain a good public image for a business or organisation. You’d make sure that it has a good reputation with the public and the media.

You could work for one company or organisation in its communications department. Or you could work as an account executive at a public relations consultancy which provides services to a number of clients.

First of all you would find out how the organisation would like to be seen. Then you would come up with ideas to create that image and maintain the reputation in the future.

You would:

  • Plan public relations campaigns
  • Monitor the public and media's opinion of your employer or client
  • Write and edit press releases, speeches, newsletters, leaflets, brochures, websites and social media
  • Arrange events like press launches, news conferences, exhibitions and open days
  • Set up sponsorship deals, for example of sports teams or arts events
  • Develop good working relationships with the media
  • Commission adverts or promotional films
  • Get the organisation or business to raise funds for charity
  • Represent your employer or client at presentations and conferences or in radio and TV interviews

You would also deal with bad publicity. You’d try to explain the situation to the media and the public and find ways to repair any damage to the business or organisation’s image and reputation. It can be a busy job with tight deadlines, so you’d need to be flexible and able to multi-task.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Hours could be more irregular and may involve early starts, late finishes and working at the weekend if you are meeting a deadline or reacting to a crisis.

Environment

You would normally work in an office.

Travel

You may travel to attend PR events and conferences, and to meet clients.

UK employment status

Full-time

70%

Part-time

22%

Self employed

8%

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  • Building relationships
  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Creative
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Qualifications

Entry is very competitive.

Most entrants have degrees (SCQF level 9/10) in areas such as:

  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Communication
  • Media
  • Business marketing

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

You can enter an Advertising and Public Relations Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.  

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Business
  • Accounts/economics
  • ICT subjects
  • Social studies subjects such as media or psychology

Helpful to have

Public Relations is a competitive field. Employers look for candidates with work experience in journalism, marketing or advertising. 

Some degree courses offer work placements, or you could approach a company yourself.