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Occupational Profile

Public Relations Representative

Public relations representatives help organizations achieve their objectives by facilitating communication links between organizations and the audiences they wish to reach.

  • Avg. Salary $74,664.00
  • Avg. Wage $38.73
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Down
Also Known As

Communications Officer, Copywriter, Information Specialist, Public Affairs Officer, Community Relations Specialist

NOC & Interest Codes
The Public Relations Representative is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications
NOC code: 5124
INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to prepare and oversee preparation of reports, briefs, bibliographies, speeches, presentations, Web sites and press releases, and to develop and organize workshops, meetings, ceremonies and other events for publicity, fund-raising and information purposes

METHODICAL

Interest in gathering, researching and preparing communications material for internal and external audiences, and in assisting in the preparation of brochures, reports, newsletters and other material

SOCIAL

Interest in persuading to initiate and maintain contact with the media, and to arrange interviews and news conferences; and in co-ordinating special publicity events and promotions to internal and external audiences

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Duties and responsibilities vary from one position to another but, in general, public relations representatives:

  • create and maintain public awareness of their organizations' policies and actions
  • foster good community relations
  • facilitate communications within the organization between employees and management
  • develop, implement and evaluate strategic communications programs
  • act as media and stakeholder contacts for their organizations
  • conduct research (for example, public opinion and attitude surveys) and communicate results
  • prepare speeches, news/media releases, brochures, audio-visuals, advertisements, reports, articles, newsletters and websites for defined audiences
  • identify the interests and concerns of key groups their organizations serve
  • co-ordinate special events and promotions for internal and external audiences 
  • manage issues that relate to their organization
  • provide consultative services to management to facilitate communications with target groups.

Junior employees handle routine work such as:

  • responding to requests for information from the public
  • researching and writing copy for specific projects
  • writing news releases and pitching story ideas to the media
  • media tracking and issue tracking
  • assisting senior practitioners with projects or programs
  • planning events 
  • maintaining current distribution lists
  • working with web designers.

Senior employees may:

  • respond to requests for information from the media or designate another appropriate spokesperson
  • work with other managers to identify trends and issues and determine strategies for implementing public relations programs
  • integrate goals and objectives from the organization's business plan to develop public relations programs and strategies
  • advise managers regarding how communications and perceptions affect business issues and decisions.

Once a program concept is approved, the public relations department is responsible for implementing the program and budgeting, managing and evaluating the results.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Work schedules for public relations representatives often are irregular and subject to frequent interruption. They generally work on several projects at a time and meeting project deadlines may require working overtime. Considerable travel may be involved.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Public relations representatives need the following characteristics:

  • creativity
  • initiative
  • good oral and written communication and presentation skills
  • excellent interpersonal skills including good coaching, consultation and negotiation skills
  • self-confidence
  • the ability to analyze problems and find practical solutions
  • the ability to deal with ambiguity
  • sensitivity
  • excellent organizational and time management skills.

They should enjoy co-ordinating information and finding innovative ways to handle problems, taking a methodical approach to gathering, researching and editing information, and persuading people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have post-secondary education related to public relations or communications. Many employers require a combination of qualifications such as a degree in any field plus a diploma or additional degree in public relations, communications or journalism. They also may require applicants to be members or eligible for membership in a professional organization such as the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) or the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Keyboarding and computer skills are required.

Post-secondary institutions throughout Alberta offer related diploma and degree programs.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Simon Fraser University - Burnaby

University of Victoria - Victoria

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Public relations representatives are employed by:

  • corporations and consulting firms
  • federal, provincial and municipal governments
  • professional organizations and trade associations
  • health authorities
  • educational institutions
  • financial institutions
  • political and social organizations
  • industry organizations.

Freelancing as a consultant is an alternative for those who have experience in government or the private sector. There also are opportunities to work for public relations/marketing firms as consultants.

Public relations representatives are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1123: Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations. In Alberta, 75% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 8,100 Albertans are employed in the Professional occupations in public relations and communications occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.4% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 113 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As public relations representatives form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for public relations representatives. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Public relations representatives are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1123: Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations occupational group earned on average from $33.71 to $45.43 an hour. The overall average wage was $38.73 an hour. For more information, see the Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Fine Arts
    • Drama
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Management and Marketing
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Communication Technology
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) website: www.cprs.ca

International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) website: www.iabc.com

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jan 28, 2013. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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