Public relations officer

communications officer media relations officer press officer PR officer

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

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

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Presenting to people
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Coming up with new ideas
  • Being creative
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

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

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

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
  • Modern languages
  • 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. 

You could complete a Foundation Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media (SCQF Level 6) while you're still at school. 

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