Now that the school season is officially under way, many college students (and their parents) are wondering about the kind of jobs that will be available for new graduates in the years ahead. According to labor statistics and projections, public relations is a field that young scholars might do well to consider.
Overall, entry-level job prospects have been dismal in recent years, even as the economy has recovered. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for those between the ages of 20 to 24 was 11.3 percent in July—certainly an improvement over recent years (in 2011 the figure was 14.6 percent), but still a historically high rate.
In a recent analysis of the changing entry-level job market, The Wall Street Journal noted that, while automation and outsourcing have stripped some industries of entry level jobs, fields like public relations are seeing increased opportunities for young graduates—with positions for public relations specialists growing by 10 percent between 2003 and 2013 and the number of PR jobs expected to grow over the next decade. Specifically, BLS expects employment for public relations specialists to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Additionally, the Journal notes that new jobs are emerging to keep pace with new technologies. For example, the position of social media manager—a position grouped with the fields of media, marketing and PR—did not exist five years ago but now has more than 18,000 open positions.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that a major in a PR-related field will automatically lead to a job after graduation. The job market still favors employers, which means many “entry level” positions still require applicants to come to the table with some on-the-job experience, usually in the form of an internship.
For more on the job market for young graduates, I highly recommend the WSJ story linked above. And for those who may be interested in starting a career in PR, or know someone who is, check out a few of our previous blog posts on things to remember when starting a PR job search, how to build a foundation for a public relations career, and tips for landing a PR job after college.
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