Press officers are employed by organisations to act as their main point of contact for the media. These guys act as the official representatives of their organisations and handle all matters relating to the press.
All kinds of organisations employ press officers – from charities and government agencies to multinational corporations.
If you break into this line of work, you’ll be preparing, writing and distributing press releases, handling media queries and constantly liaising with journalists and other media contacts.
Furthermore, you’ll be tracking media coverage relating to your company, keeping an eye on industry developments and organising press conferences.
Salary & benefits
Average starting salaries are between £18,000 and £25,000 per annum, increasing to between £30,000 and £35,000 for people with three to five years’ experience.
Senior press officers can earn salaries in the range of £50,000 and £150,000.
However, higher salaries are mainly given to press officers working in the private sector.
While junior press officers may have slightly more hectic work schedules, those with more than three years’ experience can expect a regular nine-to-five working day.
However, senior press officers will spend a greater amount of time socialising and networking with new and existing clients, business partners and industry professionals, and these activities are typically conducted after regular office hours.
Travel outside the office is also a regular fixture, sometimes including overseas travel for press officers who are working with multinational corporations.
A good undergraduate degree in any discipline is acceptable for entry into this profession, although an academic background in public relations, journalism, English or a similar subject may give you an edge over other candidates.
This industry is incredibly competitive to get into. Therefore, getting a degree is pretty much essential, and most employers generally expect candidates to have a certain amount of relevant work experience, internships or industrial placements under their belt.
Training & progression
The structure and scope of the training you’ll receive will be specific to your employer and the industry sector you work in, ranging from gaining hands-on experience, to participation in structured training programmes.
Your employer may even arrange for you attend professional courses offered by professional bodies, such as the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in order to boost your skill-set.
Developing a diverse range of experience, obtaining professional qualifications and maintaining a consistently high level of performance is the key to success and rapid career progression.
It’s possible for talented individuals to rise to middle and senior management positions within five to eight years. Your career path, however, will understandably vary from employer to employer.