‘PR Specialist’ Shaping Up as One of the Fastest Growing Careers

President Obama returns to the nation’s capital on Thursday to meet with congressional leaders to try and avert the so-called “fiscal cliff,” or a series of tax increases and government spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1.

The media narrative has been that if a deal can’t be reached, the U.S. could slide into another economic recession. Nevertheless, there may be a silver lining for people pursuing a career in public relations.

According to an article posted on Yahoo Education, ‘Public Relations Specialist’ ranked #5 among the “Eight Hot Careers to Watch in 2013.”
But the job opportunities in PR go well beyond the next 12 months. The article cites a Department of Labor study showing that employment for PR specialists is projected to grow by 23% between 2010 and 2020, with more than 58,000 job openings.
Laurence Shatkin, author of “Best Jobs for the 21st Century,” told Yahoo Education: “With instant access to social media, it is more important than ever for individuals and organizations to get professional help maintaining a positive public image…Specialists who work well with this new media are needed to build a reputation or save someone from scandal.”

Sure, the advent of social media has played into the ability among PR pros to cultivate relationships and build communities online and offline.

Yet there are other forces at work here, primarily the diminishing returns of “paid” media (read: advertising schedules) and the spike in “earned” media, which is a synonym for PR. The ability of companies of all stripes to produce and distribute their own media assets—with an assist by the PR department and/or PR agency—is another factor that’s driving the growth in PR jobs.

What’s more, in a 24/7/365 media environment CEOs and senior managers realize that they need to be as media savvy as possible. They need the guidance and cold-eyed advice that communications executives can provide on navigating the new norm.

For more information on potential gigs in PR, visit the PR News Job Center

Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1



About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' PR Measurement Conference


Join us on April 20, 2015, for PR News’ essential PR Measurement Conference at the National Press Club in D.C., and learn how tie PR metrics to measurable business outcomes.

Use code “150off” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Book of Employee Communications


In this 5th volume of PR News’ Book of Employee Communications, our authors cover more than 45 articles on crisis communications, social media policies, human resources collaboration, brand evangelism and more.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription


Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

  • Lynn Kirk

    Positive PR is priceless … as well as job security for me!

  • Matt

    I am curious to know what qualifications are essential for landing a PR Specialist position. Do recruiters/companies favor a business marketing degree over, for instance, a general B.A. in Communication? I have the latter, which I believe is a better foundation for highest-caliber PR. But what would I need in terms of further training in order to attract the attention of a PR staffing recruiter? “Getting experience” on the job is minimally feasible for someone like myself who cannot afford entry-level wages. I would need to start in a mid-level position.

  • Jennylee Haines

    PR is a great career, but requires specialized education that many colleges aren’t providing…new grads and students shoudl seek to specialize and plan to get an advanced degree to really advance. Finally, it’s great to know social media, but you have to be a terrific writer, that means compelling, relevant content that is also grammatically correct!

  • John

    ..and spell checking Jennylee?

  • Chris Brewster

    Experience is the key. You need to know what to look for and how to react to it. And, as Jennylee said, you need to be a strong writer.

  • Gwyneth Tan

    But how does a keen newbie get experience when all employers look for prior experience? Are we facing a chicken and egg situation in PR hiring and employment seeking?

  • Lachlan

    @Matt I’m a recent graduate from Australia where I studied a BA-Public Relations. I’ve been in the workforce for just over 2 years. My 1st year salary was $55k AU. I believe 2013 will have a big focus on storytelling which which engages the reader. Experience grows patience & to keep quiet and listen to what’s being said & that’s exactly what you need to develop creative writing skills.

  • Francie Vitale

    When a public relations professional can create a terrific PR experience for a client, it is a great moment for the client and a great moment for the PR professional.

  • Tricia Hansen-Horn

    Jennylee, UCM has an excellent PR major. http://www.ucmo.edu/pr

  • Ann Wilmer

    This should be a bonanza for experien ced practitioners who have been downsized or who are striking out on their own. In my experience, most employers in my area are more concerned about keeping salarty and bennies as low as possible. If that trend continues my consultancy roster should grow.

  • John Stewart

    I noticed that at one point a few years ago, it appeared the number of PR specialists had doubled in a 10 year period. As a former newspaper reporter, I’m curious if this is because companies took “paid media” functions in-house to become “earned media” and thus created a bunch of new PR positions.