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What is involved? Careers in marketing and PR can be fast-paced and high-salaried. Many women work in these professions and find that their excellent communication and organisational skills together with a creative flair is an exact match for what is required…..
Careers in marketing and PR can be fast-paced and high-salaried. Many women work in these professions and find that their excellent communication and organisational skills together with a creative flair is an exact match for what is required.
Marketing involves many activities but is broadly concerned with promoting and increasing the sales of products and services. It may also involve communicating a brand or ‘getting the word out there’ about a product. Marketing strategies are varied, direct-marketing is one discipline which aims to create a communication direct with the consumer, usually through a direct mail shot or telemarketing. In other marketing jobs you may be involved in creating web strategies for online marketing or most usually a combination of different forms. You are also likely to be involved in product development, sponsorship and market research.
Public relations is another popular career choice. The job involves acting as a third party or ambassador between the product/service or company and the media. It involves the management of reputation, influencing of opinion and behaviour and the distribution of information and the creation of a favourable relationship with the public. Work activities may also include writing and editing press releases or other PR material, event management and sometimes lobbying.
Many companies will have a dedicated marketing and PR department but often the lines can be blurred with the disciplines working together to improve reputation and sell products. In smaller companies there may just be a single person working across the functions, handling all PR related activity and marketing work. In others the work may be outsourced to a freelance consultant and many mums set themselves up in this way to fit their client work around family life.
The sector is known for being fast and exciting but the pace and culture will vary across companies and sectors. The industry is also highly creative and there will be peaks and troughs of work that go with the launch of a new product or service, or a news story etc and people that work in the sector will need to be prepared to work accordingly, sometimes with tight deadlines and long hours when required in the run up to certain events or product launches.
It may also be necessary to network and socialise with clients especially if you are working for an agency or if indeed you are acting as a consultant and are keen to build upon your contact base and take on new business.
The industry does attract a lot of women yet the figures show that the gender split is actually fairly evenly balanced. Two years ago the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) suggested that 51.9% were male whilst 48.1% were female. This figure shifts, however, as you move up to senior management level (chair, managing director and CEO) where they suggest it is 83.8% male and 16.2% female.
In terms of age, the sector is generally thought to be dominated by younger workers with the IPA estimating that nearly half of all employees are aged under 30. Diversity is still an issue with the majority (91.6%) being of white origin. The IPA say they are trying to address this.
t isn’t essential to hold a PR or marketing qualification although a degree may help. Many new entrants to the sector get their first foot through the door with thanks to a related degree such as PR, media studies, marketing, communication or English. Business management is also desirable.
For a career in PR it is worth considering the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) who have introduced the Introductory Award in Public Relations. This is a great way of gaining valuable skills and qualifications but does not guarantee an entry level position.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) also offers a host of marketing related qualifications that may help. In total they offer around 120 marketing, sales and business courses.
Of course if you’ve already got experience then that is going to help but if you are starting out then be prepared to take a work placement for free and if you’ve decided that this is the career for you and you are still studying then make the most of the opportunities available. Get yourself involved in the student paper or radio station if you’re at University or if you are a mum then volunteer to do the PR/marketing for your local playgroup or school.
Salaries do vary hugely and depend upon specialism, level of experience and location. Recruitment agency, Joslin Rowe suggest that a direct marketing manager could earn between £40-60,000 per year whilst an event manager may take home somewhere between £35-50,000.
For more junior roles, salaries tend to be higher in the professional services, financial sector and business sector compared with those in the not-for-profit/public sector or small, independent companies. A marketing assistant may earn upto £30,000 for example whilst a marketing executive working for a hedge fund may earn around £40,000.
Joslin Rowe suggest that a PR manager may earn between £40-50,000 whilst a PR executive could take home £30-40,000 per year but again the salaries will vary a great deal and senior positions within agencies can command very high packages.