If the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ occupational outlook is on the money, employment for those specializing in the field of public relations is forecast to balloon by the year 2020, with a greater acceleration than the norm for all occupations. An expected 21 percent labor spike for public relations managers is being spurred by a growing need for organizations to beef up their public image as they utilize the advantages of high-information social media and other manipulative platforms.
“In the Los Angeles area, companies and public relations agencies are looking at entry-level positions for individuals with strong writing skills and a solid understanding of social media and the digital landscape,” said Denis Wolcott, president of The Wolcott Company, a prominent media relations provider. “For mid-level positions, they are looking for individuals with success in leading projects and programs, a strong awareness of the competitive landscape, nationally and internationally, and some level of expertise in a particular field, such as consumer products. There are also occasional executive and senior manager positions that definitely require a strong record of success in leading teams, growing accounts and being results oriented.”
The former print journalist, whose enterprising father was once president of the Public Relations Society of America, said businesses in the greater L.A. region are already seeking competent candidates for enviable public relations career assignments.
“Public relations is tied to the economy like many other professions. As the economy has rebounded, so have jobs,” said Wolcott, whose industrious company currently handles the communicative necessities for such corporeal entities as the Port of Long Beach, UCLA and Pardee Homes. “Add in the rise of social media, I know that companies, whether they are Fortune 500 firms like The Walt Disney Company or public relations agencies with a large local presence, such as Golin Harris International, are constantly posting openings or recruiting prospects from others.
“Also, smaller public relations shops are opening up all the time.”
The public relations guru, with some 20 years of expertise under his belt, advises job prospects to pay close attention to those pivotal areas that are fast developing from a simpler to a more complex stage of progress.
“Technology also is blending with entertainment, so it’s important to have skills in both. Digital history is a huge area that covers a range of industries,” said Wolcott. “Health care is another growing field for public relations, particularly as our population grows and becomes older. And to be able to manage all that is around the Affordable Care Act will be a plus.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.