Communications Professional Ngaio Whakawhitiwhiti Kōrero

Communications professionals plan and develop strategies that promote the public image of an organisation to the public, shareholders and employees.

Communications professionals may do some or all of the following:

  • plan projects, publicity campaigns, functions and press conferences
  • write and edit press releases, in-house magazines, speeches, articles and annual reports
  • maintain online information about an organisation
  • keep important internal and external groups of people informed about the organisation
  • keep management informed about stakeholder, employee or community concerns
  • research public opinion by doing market research and analysing findings
  • advise politicians on how to deal with media
  • manage an organisation's public relations or marketing budget.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for communications professionals includes:

  • journalism or other writing experience
  • project management
  • marketing
  • event management
  • any work involving communications and networking.

Personal Qualities

Communications professionals need to be:

  • able to think creatively, strategically and critically
  • able to write using good grammar
  • able to simplify complex information
  • experts at networking, communicating, and negotiating with people
  • organised, and good at planning and managing projects
  • able to work well under pressure
  • good at researching and presenting.

Skills

Communications professionals need to have:

  • knowledge of digital channels and print media, and how to use them for publicity
  • the ability to write for different audiences
  • the ability to survey public opinion.

Māori liaison officers or iwi engagement managers need to have knowledge of Māori language and culture. Press secretaries also need to have an understanding of the political environment and knowledge of parliamentary procedures.

Conditions

Communications professionals:

  • usually work regular business hours, but often work more than 40 hours a week
  • usually work in offices
  • may travel locally, nationally or internationally to meet suppliers, designers and media staff from other organisations.

Subject Recommendations

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include business studies, design and visual communication (graphics), digital technologies, English, media studies, social studies and te reo Māori.

Related Courses

Communications Professionals can earn around $44K-$85K per year.

Pay for communications professionals varies depending on experience and where they work.

  • Communications professionals in entry-level roles, such as communication advisers and account executives, usually start on about minimum wage to $54,000 a year.
  • Communications professionals with two to five years’ experience usually earn between $55,000 and $65,000.
  • After five to nine years, communications professionals usually earn between $65,000 and $85,000.
  • Communications professionals with 10 to 15 years' experience can earn from $70,000 to $120,000.
  • Senior communications professionals with 10 to 20 years’ experience can earn from $140,000 to $250,000.

Source: Public Relations Institute of New Zealand, 2018.

Communications professionals may become self-employed, or move into management or other roles such as journalist.

They may also specialise in an area of communications, such as:

Māori Liaison Officer
Māori liaison officers are employed by organisations to develop relationships with, and provide support to, the Māori community the organisation serves.
Press Secretary
Press secretaries advise ministers on how to deal with the media, and help them communicate government policy and decisions to the wider public.

Years Of Training

1-3 years of training usually required.

To become a public relations professional you usually need to have a diploma or degree in areas such as: 

  • public relations
  • communications
  • media studies
  • business studies
  • journalism
  • politics.
Communications Professional