Public Relations Professional
Ngaio Whitiwhiti Kōrero
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Public relations professionals plan and develop information, media and communication strategies that promote the reputation of an organisation to the public, shareholders and employees.
Public relations professionals with one to four years' experience usually earn
$35K-$80K per year
Those with more experience or working for larger companies can earn
$95K-$130K per year
Source: Michael Page Salary Centre, 'Salary and Employment Forecast 2014/2015', 2015.
Pay for public relations professionals depends on their experience.
- Public relations professionals at entry level usually earn $35,000-$40,000 a year, increasing to $50,000-$80,000 after four years.
- Those with 20 years' experience may earn $120,000-$130,000 a year.
Pay for public relations professionals also depends on the size of the organisation they work for.
- Public relations professionals working in small to medium-sized companies usually earn $65,000-$95,000 a year.
- Those working with large companies usually earn $95,000-$130,000 a year.
Sources: Michael Page Salary Centre, 'Salary and Employment Forecast 2014/2015', 2015; and Public Relations Institute of New Zealand, 'Trends Survey 2014', 2015.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Public relations professionals may do some or all of the following:
- plan and organise projects, publicity campaigns, functions and press conferences
- write and edit press releases, in-house magazines, speeches, articles and annual reports
- maintain and update online information about an organisation
- help an organisation meet its goals and measure its success
- keep important internal and external groups of people informed about the organisation
- research public opinion by doing market research, and analysing findings
- advise politicians on how to deal with media
- manage an organisation’s public relations or marketing budget
- manage public relations staff.
Skills and knowledge
Public relations professionals need to have:
- knowledge of different types of media, such as print and social media, and how to use them for publicity
- knowledge of how to survey public opinion
- excellent skills in writing for different audiences.
Press secretaries also need to have an understanding of the political environment, and knowledge of parliamentary procedures.
Public relations professionals:
- usually work regular business hours
- may work more than 40 hours a week
- usually work in offices
- may travel locally, nationally or internationally to meet suppliers, designers and media staff from other organisations.
To become a public relations professional you usually need a tertiary qualification in one of the following areas:
- public relations
- media studies
Public relations professionals who specialise as public affairs officers usually need a degree in politics or a closely related subject.
At least four years’ secondary education is required to enter tertiary training. To go to university, a university entrance qualification (NCEA Level 3) is required.
Useful subjects include English, media studies, business studies, accounting and economics.
Public relations professionals need to be:
- able to think creatively, strategically and critically
- experts at networking, communicating, and negotiating with people
- organised and good at managing projects
- able to work well under pressure
- able to simplify complex information
- good at researching and presenting
- able to write using good grammar.
Useful experience for public relations professionals includes:
- journalism or other writing experience
- project management
- event management
- any work involving communications and networking.
Find out more about training
- 0800 526 1800 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.competenz.org.nz
- Public Relations Institute of NZ (PRiNZ)
- (09) 358 9808 - email@example.com - www.prinz.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Opportunities strong for those with with digital skills
Demand for public relations professionals is high, especially for those with previous experience in similar roles. Opportunities are growing for public relations professionals with knowledge or experience in social media and online communication and research methods.
There are fewer opportunities for public relations professionals at entry level. However, internships are provided by some employers to help those looking to enter the industry to gain experience.
Types of employers vary
Public relations professionals may work for:
- local and regional government bodies
- government departments such as the Ministry of Education
- non-government organisations
- private companies across a range of industries
- not-for-profit organisations
- public relations consultancies.
Public relations work may be done:
- within an organisation
- for an employer who charges external clients an hourly rate.
- Hudson New Zealand, 'Salary Guides 2015', accessed September, (www.nz.hudson.com).
- Michael Page Salary Centre, 'Salary and Employment Forecast 2014/2015', accessed September 2015, (www.michaelpage.co.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website, accessed September 2015, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Public Relations Institute of New Zealand, 'Trends Survey 2014', (www.prinz.org.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Public relations professionals may become self-employed, move into public relations management, move into other roles such as journalist, or focus on work such as:
- online and social media public relations
- investor relations
- internal communications
They may also specialise in an area of public relations, such as:
- Māori Liaison Officer
- Māori liaison officers are employed by organisations to develop relationships with, and provide support to, the Māori community the organisation serves.
- Press Secretary
- Press secretaries advise ministers on how to deal with the media, and help them communicate government policy and decisions to the wider public.
- Public Affairs Officer
- Public affairs officers plan and implement communication and media strategies in a public policy area such as government, trade unions, or an issues-based organisation.
Last updated 26 May 2017