The job: Public Relations
- Starts at about $40,000 for managers and grows to about $80,000 for associates and beyond.
- Pays about $150,000 for more senior roles, such as senior vice-president or president.
- Marketing, communications or journalism are common routes to public relations.
- Colleges and universities across Canada offer public relations and communication degrees and certificates.
- Public relations tasks can vary, from pitching stories to the news media, to event planning, to community relations, to helping to launch new brands or products.
- The PR person’s job is to help gain attention and awareness for the client.
- PR people require strong writing and storytelling skills as well as knowledge of current events and trends in a wide variety of sectors, depending on their area of expertise.
By the numbers:
- The PR field is dominated by women. According to 2006 census data, 69 per cent of PR people were women, up from 59 per cent in 1991.
Photo Credit: Andrea Lekushoff, president of Broadreach Communications in her Toronto home office in May, 2012. Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail
- The rise of social media coupled with an increasing need for companies and organizations to get their messages across in a cluttered world of communication has driven up demand for PR professionals.
- ”This significant rising trend in employment should continue over the next few years,” according to Service Canada.
- It’s no longer just about pitching a story to traditional media outlets and crossing your fingers for coverage.
- Today, PR people need to find other avenues to promote their clients’ work, especially as mainstream newsrooms are shrinking.
- That means getting more creative and coming up with new tactics, such as a skilled use of social media, to garner attention.
- The hours can be long and weekend work is often part of the gig.
Why they do it:
”It can be exciting… and no two days are the same,” says Katie Stevens, a senior account associate at Vancouver-based Talk Shop Media.
Ms. Stevens says she is passionate about marketing but felt that advertising was too promotional for her tastes.
She enjoys PR because it gives her the ability to be creative, while also digging deeper into certain issues.
”It gives you an opportunity to be an expert – or at least a mini expert – in many different fields.”
It’s nothing like the job of Samantha Jones in Sex and the City.
”We aren’t the ones sipping champagne beside the fashion show. We are the ones behind the scenes worrying about the logistics and making sure everything ticks,” Ms. Stevens says.
She also bristles at the idea that what she does is spin.
”You have to be creative, but that can often be misconstrued as inauthentic,” she says.
Photo Credit: Kim Cattrall appears in a scene from Sex and the City 2 movie. ITAR-TASS/Newscom
This story is part of the Globe Careers’ series looking at specific jobs, with their qualifications, descriptions, responsibilities and current salaries.
The Organization of Canadian Women in Public Relations (Women in PR Canada) and American Women in Public Relations (Women in PR USA) is a network of leading business women striving for excellence in the field of public relations. Together, our organizations form Women in PR North America.