The field of public relations, or PR, deals with the relationships between organizations and the public. Organizations such as businesses benefit from positive public opinion and can face difficulty in attracting support or making sales when public relations are poor. Public relations managers can help businesses address their publicity needs, but they can also cause problems.
Improved Public Relations
One of the key advantages of a public relations manager is the ability to improve a business's public profile. Hiring a full-time PR manager allows a business to act quickly when controversies occur and respond to incidents that may harm the business's reputation. Public relations managers also act as sources of information for the public, directing them toward alternative viewpoints and resources, albeit with the goal of improving an employer's image.
For a business, a public relations manager may represent an unaffordable luxury. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PR specialists working in managerial and business positions make an average salary of more than $55,500, as of 2011. Those employed with education institutions and governments typically earn between $46,000 and $51,000. Many businesses, including small businesses with limited PR needs, can put this money to better use elsewhere. Public relations managers also bring the cost of recruitment and managerial-level benefits, which makes them even more costly.
Lack of Flexibility
Public relations managers may have limited skills or specific preferred approaches to handling PR issues. Businesses that hire PR managers are locked in to one person for the life of a contract, or until they can find a suitable replacement. Alternatively, businesses that work with outside PR firms have access to multiple PR specialists and various viewpoints, which creates more flexibility.
Unifying PR Efforts
When a business already has a PR team, or other managers with PR experience, a PR manager can have the positive impact of unifying PR efforts across the organization and maintaining consistency in the eyes of the public. Public relations managers provide points of contact for owners and executives who have ideas about the direction of a PR approach but lack the special skills or time to implement that approach. A business that presents a unified, consistent public relations face can maintain more transparent relationships with the public and avoid conflicting responses or promises that cause further problems.
2016 Salary Information for Public Relations Specialists
Public relations specialists earned a median annual salary of $58,020 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, public relations specialists earned a 25th percentile salary of $42,450, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $79,650, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 259,600 people were employed in the U.S. as public relations specialists.