Top Cities for Public Relations Professionals
Published on May 5, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.
by Kate Amberson.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021, around 276,800 public relations specialists worked in the U.S.
Transitioning from college to the real world can be awkward and challenging for anyone. What’s even more difficult is deciding
where to go next. There are so many things to consider. Where can I make the most money? Where are the best agencies? Do I want to work in house or for a firm? Where will I get the best salary? What industry do I want to go into? What’s right for me?
All of these questions are valid. While I can give you the best places for public relations generally, it’s genuinely up to your preferences.
New York City
It’s no shock that New York is at the top of this list. According to O’Dwyer’s, 45 out of the top 148 public relations firms in the U.S. are in New York, a ranking based on
worldwide net fees. With firms like Edelman, Finn Partners and ICR all in the city, you have less of a chance of making the wrong choice. However, with the big check that comes with New York PR firms, so does a heavy price tag. One must consider the cost of living in the big city, and it can be difficult to swing as a recent college graduate.
There are extensive networking opportunities with so many top-tier PR firms in New York. The New York chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is one of the “oldest, largest, and most prominent public relations Chapters in the country.” PRSA-NY allows PR professionals to create a community that offers everything from development to mentoring.
Los Angeles is a hotspot for public relations, specifically in the entertainment and media industry. In addition, the city is highly populous. According to a 2017 Forbes article, Los Angeles possesses a “heavier concentration of entertainment, media and PR jobs than any other metro area.” However, it can be costly to live in the city and difficult for future professionals to balance living
costs with their income, as noted by KTLA.
Los Angeles offers multiple different industries that one can dive into. Influencer marketing is increasingly popular, and the entertainment industry holds an abundance of opportunities for public relations professionals. If you are interested in fashion, New York and Los Angeles are places where you can intertwine your passions for fashion and public relations.
Washington is the home to APCO Worldwide, Spectrum and JPA Health. If you’re looking to get into the political side of public relations, this is the prominent place to be. However, Washington is also a great area that offers opportunities in the health care sector of public relations.
You’ll notice that each of these cities is highly populated and continuing to grow as we speak. Working in the city is currently the
best option for future PR professionals, as there are more employment opportunities.
On the other hand, there are options to live further away from the “hustle and bustle” in Washington if you don’t think that’s right for you.
Although the cities above are listed primarily due to their employment opportunities, a public relations professional can also choose many in-house options. The most important factor to consider with in-house options is which industry you want to enter. If you are looking into food and beverage, Anheuser-Busch InBev is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and is most likely looking for a new PR team. Southern Company is an energy company with an in-house PR team, and universities nationwide also hire PR professionals.
In addition, there are options for PR jobs abroad. Firms like FleishmanHillard, Ketchum and Real Chemistry are international firms that have offices all over the world. If you speak another language or want to learn one, working abroad is perfect for immersion into a different culture while still doing what you love. Cities like Sydney, London, Barcelona and Dublin are practical options that are thriving in the public relations world today, according to Global Experiences.
Ultimately, you will have options anywhere you go as a PR professional. PR is a growing field that has also expanded into everything from influencer relations to artificial intelligence. If there aren’t great firm options where you choose to live, consider looking into a marketing or advertising agency or working in house.
Regardless of what you do, showing up daily and dedicating yourself to working hard will make a drastic difference in the long run. Transitioning into the workforce is difficult, yes, but as with everything, you have to try different options to figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle.