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Competition for many jobs will be keen because the glamour of the industry traditionally attracts many more jobseekers than there are job openings. California and New York together account for about 1 in 5 firms and more than 1 in 4 workers in the industry. Layoffs are common when accounts are lost, major clients cut budgets, or agencies merge.

Firms in the advertising and public relations services industry prepare advertisements for other companies and organizations and design campaigns to promote the interests and image of their clients. This industry also includes media representatives—firms that sell advertising space for publications, radio, television, and the Internet; display advertisers—businesses engaged in creating and designing public display ads for use in shopping malls, on billboards, or in similar media; and direct mail advertisers.

 
 

 

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 Median hourly earnings of the largest occupations in advertising and public relations services, May 2006

General and operations managers - $58.15/hr
Sales representatives, services - $24.05/hr
Public relations specialists - $24.03/hr
Advertising sales agents - $22.91/hr
Graphic designers - $20.00/hr
Executive secretaries and administrative assistants - $18.75/hr
Customer service representatives - $15.01/hr
Office clerks - $11.27/hr
Mail clerks and mail machine operators - $10.34/hr
Demonstrators and product promoters - $9.57/hr

Most advertising firms specialize in a particular market niche. Some companies produce and solicit outdoor advertising, such as billboards and electric displays. Others place ads in buses, subways, taxis, airports, and bus terminals. A small number of firms produce aerial advertising, while others distribute circulars, handbills, and free samples.

Many agencies have created units to serve their clients’ electronic advertising needs on the Internet. Online advertisements link users to a company’s or product’s Web site, where information such as new product announcements, contests, and product catalogs appears, and from which purchases may be made.

Some firms are not involved in the creation of ads at all; instead, they sell advertising time or space on radio and television stations or in publications. Because these firms do not produce advertising, their staffs are mostly sales workers.

Companies often look to advertising as a way of boosting sales by increasing the public’s exposure to a product or service. Most companies do not have the staff with the necessary skills or experience to create effective advertisements; furthermore, many advertising campaigns are temporary, so employers would have difficulty maintaining their own advertising staff. Instead, companies commonly solicit bids from ad agencies to develop advertising for them; the ad agencies offering their services to the company often make presentations. After winning an account, various departments within an agency—such as creative, production, media, and research—work together to meet the client’s goal of increasing sales.

Public Relations, Advertising

Widespread public relations services firms can influence how businesses, governments, and institutions make decisions. Often working behind the scenes, these firms have a variety of functions. In general, firms in public relations services advise and implement public exposure strategies. For example, a public relations firm might issue a press release that is printed in newspapers across the country. Firms in public relations services offer one or more resources that clients cannot provide themselves. [ Excerpted from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2008-09 Edition, Advertising and Public Relations Services ]