If you hold a bachelor's degree in communications or public relations and are interested in working in the public sector, a job as a government affairs manager is something to consider. This involves conducting research to meet and monitor policy goals, and overseeing the communication and activities of a particular group of government employees.
Government affairs managers are public relations specialists who coordinate legislative efforts by working with state, local, and federal governments as well as the media. They help their organization meet legislative goals by creating policy proposals and working with government agencies and citizens. Government affairs managers are generally directly responsible for a group of staff members. As part of their jobs, government affairs managers may perform research, manage internal and external communication, and contact various media outlets. Education requirements for this position usually include a bachelor's degree in such fields as communications, public relations, or journalism.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Skills Requirements||Excellent writing skills; able to communicate with others; familiar with media outlets and platforms; ability to solve problems; strong public speaking skills|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% (for public relations specialists)|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$65,830 (for public relations specialists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Government affairs managers conduct research and monitor legislation. They also track happenings within the government that could affect their organization. Proactively, they research policies to see what changes could be advantageous and which trends might negatively impact their company in the future.
Conducting both internal and external communications is another duty performed by government affairs managers. To ensure message continuity, they work internally with other management staff members and oversee employees. They may also participate in financial matters including budgeting and management of their department's finances. Externally, they work with government officials, including senators and house members, advocacy groups and citizens to convey their legislative goals.
As part of their jobs, government affairs managers prepare reports and presentations to deliver within their organization; they may also present these findings externally. They write talking points and often serve as a point of contact for the media. They must also represent their organization at industry forums and events. They may be required to travel in order to fulfill this job duty.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes government affairs managers as public relations specialists. Between 2014 and 2024, job growth in this field was predicted to grow 6%, per the BLS. Candidates will face intense competition for entry-level positions. Public relations specialists who have social media experience will have the best prospects. College graduates who have studied communications or public relations and have relevant work experience will also have an edge.
The BLS also reported the mean annual salary earned by all public relations specialists as $65,830 in May 2015. Specialists employed by the federal government earned higher salaries, on average, with the BLS reporting an average annual salary of $89,640 for these workers.
To summarize, government affairs managers are essentially liaisons between a group of government members and its citizens. They are responsible for managing communication between the two, keeping abreast of policy trends to inform the group's legislative goals, and preparing reports and presentations. Job growth should be as fast as average in the coming decade, and a bachelor's degree in public relations or a related field is a common minimum requirement.