Getting messages and information seen and heard by defined target markets are the aims of people working in this sector. Most jobs in this sector require a team approach to research, develop and create ideas and campaigns that communicate specific messages.

The industry can broadly be divided into those who work within an organisation and those who work for an agency where teams are appointed to provide specific services to paying clients. Both areas offer jobs in:

  • Advertising - developing concepts, words and artwork, booking media space, managing client relationships, sourcing specialists like photographers, film directors and scriptwriters for advertising placed on terrestrial and digital TV, radio and the internet, and in magazines and newspapers.
  • Sales and marketing - planning direct marketing and promotional activities, producing literature, creating website content, communicating to staff, organising launch parties, exhibitions and conferences, negotiating sponsorship deals and other sales.
  • Public relations - securing positive media coverage as a spokesperson for a company or organisation. 
  • Brand management - getting to know customers, tracking competitors, product development and creating an identity.


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Jobs and Salaries

Find out why you should consider a career in marketing.

Perhaps you are more interested in a career in advertising? Take a closer look at the job roles in this profession. As a member of the IPA, you can access their annual salary and benefits review.

Take a look at what a career in PR could be like. The average PR professional earns just under £50,000.

  • Some organisations will combine one or more of these roles, and potentially with brand management, as mentioned above.



Routes and Qualifications

It is not necessary to have a specific degree in Marketing, Advertising or PR (although you can do this - take a look at the degrees available in this sector on UCAS), however training and qualifications might provide you with useful skills, networking opportunities and fresh ideas.

Marketing 


Advertising 


PR

  • Work experience is often essential as PR is a very competitive profession. 
  • Read about the benefits of taking a course in PR, and about qualifications from the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations).


Funding and support

Available funding for courses varies between each institution. The CIM offer a 10% discount on training courses for members. Find out more from the individual training providers.

If you are considering higher education in this sector, check out the pages on student finance from gov.uk, and/or contact the funding or careers departments of the organisations you are considering training with.


What’s it really like working in this sector?

Take a break from reading, and have a look at our career videos from people working in this sector. CIPR also have a wealth of case studies of people working in PR.

  • This sector is fast moving, dynamic and highly creative, however it can be stressful and highly pressurised when having to meet tight deadlines. Salaries can vary considerably depending on location, experience and specialism.
  • While most jobs are office based, people may have to travel long distances to visit clients and attend events. Long hours are often required to meet deadlines. There is some part time work or in the case of telesales shifts. Some freelance work is also available; however this is more common in public relations, exhibitions and copywriting.
  • Networking and socialising with customers and clients is important, to build and maintain relationships.
  • Advertising is a young industry, with nearly half of employees aged under 30, and there is a good male-female ratio.


How many jobs are there in this sector?

  • About 3% of the UK workforce are in marketing.
  • There are approximately 50,000 people working in PR.
  • Almost 18,000 people are known to be working in advertising.


Location, location, location

  • Many large advertising, direct marketing and full-service agencies and PR consultancies are based in and around London and the south-east, as are many in-house marketing and PR consultancies.
  • However, opportunities exist throughout the whole of the UK, these are focused in the larger cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester.
  • Large agencies and PR consultancies are increasingly international in scope. Many are part of a larger media and communications group whose parent company may be based in another European country or the USA. This can provide opportunities abroad.


Will a career in this sector suit me?

The type of qualification you have done is not nearly as important as work experience, enthusiasm and dedication, however statistician graduates are highly sought after in the advertising and direct marketing industries.

Employers look for: excellent communication and interpersonal skills; social skills, such as being involved with student radio or university societies; teamwork; negotiation skills; ability to use initiative; creativity and imagination; flexibility; ability to cope under pressure and think strategically as the work often involves tight deadlines; organisational skills, e.g. organising events, such as student balls or sports events.

Work experience is crucial and can lead to offers of permanent employment. Some agencies offer formal internships, but the majority of graduates find work-experience through speculative applications and networking. The IPA, the DMA and CIPR websites have details of agencies that offer work experience placements. In addition to this Voluntary organisations sometimes have opportunities in their marketing/PR departments, which can provide useful experience and will prove necessary should you choose charity and development work.

  • Advertisers want people with a real passion for advertising, and an understanding of what makes a good advertisement.
  • In PR, writing skills are very important. It can be helpful if you can provide evidence that you are a good writer, e.g. writing for your student magazine. Find out what else PR employers look for. Experience of working in newspapers and radio will help your understanding of how the media works.
  • Although postgraduate study is not essential, postgraduate qualifications will increase your chances in this increasingly competitive field. Formal qualifications offered by the CIM, such as the Professional Certificate or Diploma in Marketing, are available. The Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing is available to those who have already gained a significant level of knowledge and/or experience of marketing. The Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM) also offers a variety of formal qualifications.