The UK's official graduate careers website

Not signed up?


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

This sector covers an array of different functions and is suited to creative individuals with good communication and organisational skills...

What areas can I work in?

Marketing, advertising and PR exists in the majority of businesses in all sectors. They help organisations to connect with their audiences and to promote brands, messages and products.

Marketing is a broad field and there will be opportunities to work either in house for a company or for an agency in the following areas:

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

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

Who are the main graduate employers?

There are many employers; some employ graduates on formal training schemes, while other companies will advertise for jobs in the area and not necessarily target graduates.

Graduate schemes in marketing exist in different sectors, from pharmaceutical firms to retailers. Examples of companies offering graduate schemes in marketing, advertising and PR include:

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

Agencies can be small companies and may not recruit as many people, but there are plenty to search through and find opportunities.

Examples of advertising and marketing agencies include:

  • Abbott Mead Vickers (AMV BBDO);
  • BD Network;
  • Iris;
  • Ogilvy;
  • Pulse Group;
  • Saatchi & Saatchi.

PR consultancies:

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

Market research agencies:

  • B2B International;
  • GfK NOP;
  • 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. Those working in marketing earn more on average in London than other regions of the UK. Generally salaries at entry level are low but rise with progression;
  • working hours between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, but longer hours may be required depending on deadlines and project requirements.

Self-employment may be possible later on in your career and will usually be based on consultancy work.

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?

The sector is dynamic and constantly responding to the changing habits of consumers. As technology continues to become more sophisticated, companies are finding new ways to know their consumers and communicate with them. Digital technology has created more platforms from which to project brand and product messages to consumers.

There has been investment in finding ways to enhance brand communications online and to engage an increasingly technological audience. This means that new companies and jobs are being created to keep up with the growing demand. It is an exciting area to work in which requires versatility and a constant updating of your skills to keep abreast of the latest developments.

Analytics has never been more important. The increase in consumers' use of social media has created a huge dataset with which marketers can analyse consumer behaviour and their digital habits. This allows marketers to move away from 'intuition-driven marketing' and make decisions based on analytics.

As more consumers are using tablets and smartphones, which combine social, local and mobile technologies, there is an increased consumer demand for local information in real time. This means that marketers need to be able to respond to meet consumer expectations in real time and in a message that is personally relevant.

Marketing professionals in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the most positive about investing in their marketing activities and expect to recruit more employees to their marketing departments, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) at the end of 2012. There remains a cautious optimism amongst marketing professionals in the UK. Some larger companies are tightening their marketing budgets and even anticipating having to reduce their staff.

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
July 2013

Graduate jobs


Sponsored links


This website is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets if you are able to do so.