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Overview of the marketing, advertising and PR sector in the UK

If you are creative with good communication skills, commercial awareness and an interest in human behaviour then many areas of this sector will interest you...

What areas can I work in?

Marketing, advertising and PR exists in most businesses and across all sectors. People working in this area help organisations to connect with their audiences and to promote brands, messages and products.

You could work in the following areas:

  • advertising;
  • brand management;
  • direct marketing;
  • event management;
  • market research;
  • marketing communications (online marketing and social media);
  • public relations (PR);
  • sales promotion.

Most opportunities are in marketing with smaller numbers of jobs available in advertising, PR and event management. You could work in-house for a company, or be employed by a marketing, market research, PR or advertising agency.

For examples of roles in this sector, see graduate jobs in marketing, advertising and PR.

Who are the main graduate employers?

A range of employers offer graduate level opportunities in marketing, from pharmaceutical firms to retailers. Examples of companies offering graduate schemes include:

  • Diageo;
  • GlaxoSmithKline;
  • L'Oréal;
  • Nestlé;
  • Procter & Gamble;
  • Unilever;
  • WPP.

Other companies, including charities, may have vacancies not targeted at graduates which you could consider.

Marketing agencies may not recruit in large numbers, but plenty exist for you to search through and find opportunities in.

Examples of advertising and marketing agencies are:

  • Abbott Mead Vickers (AMV) BBDO;
  • BD Network;
  • iris;
  • Ogilvy Public Relations;
  • Saatchi & Saatchi.

PR consultancies:

  • Bell Pottinger Private;
  • Brunswick;
  • Edelman;
  • Freuds;
  • FTI Consulting;
  • Grayling;
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies;
  • RLM Finsbury;
  • Weber Shandwick.

Market research agencies:

  • B2B International;
  • GfK;
  • Ipsos MORI;
  • Millward Brown;
  • Mintel;
  • TNS.

What's it like working in the sector?

Graduates entering the marketing, advertising and PR industries can expect:

  • to work in an office;
  • to be in a dynamic team with a sociable atmosphere;
  • salaries to vary greatly depending on the occupation, the type of organisation you work for and the area of the country that you are in. On average, those working in marketing earn more in London than other regions of the UK;
  • working hours are generally between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, but longer hours may be required to meet deadlines and attend events.

To find out more about typical salaries and working conditions in your chosen career, see types of jobs.

What are the key issues in the marketing, advertising and PR sector?

According to The Graduate Market in 2014 report by High Fliers, recruitment is picking up again after the recession; with around two-fifths of leading UK employers having marketing vacancies.

The sector is dynamic and is constantly responding to the changing habits of consumers. As technology continues to become more sophisticated, companies are investing in new ways to know their consumers and communicate with them. Digital technology has created more channels, such as smartphones and tablets, to send brand and product messages to consumers. Employers expect new marketing recruits to have an understanding of new media and they particularly value creative individuals with innovative ideas.

Analytics has never been more important. Increase in the use of social media has created a huge dataset that marketers can utilise to analyse consumer behaviour. Databases are used to better understand segments of the market and move towards direct marketing, helping to build long-term customer relationships. Graduates with numerical and analytical skills who are able to exploit databases are in demand.

According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), there is a need to integrate marketing with PR and recruits in this sector increasingly need these skillsets, as well as journalistic skills and an understanding of new media.

Written by Editor, Prospects
October 2014

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