Candidates wishing to work within the profession must be able to demonstrate a genuine knowledge of how parliament operates and an understanding of the British political system.
Typical responsibilities of the job include:
- advising and liaising with MPs, MEPs, related agencies and parliamentary advisers
- handling local party finances
- ensuring compliance with electoral law
- organising election campaigns
- analysing electoral rolls
- recruiting and managing volunteers
- attending events such as party conferences and select committee hearings
- dealing with media/press enquiries
- producing press releases and passing information to press agencies
- keeping membership records
- undertaking a wide range of administrative tasks including enquiries, producing agendas, organising/attending meetings and writing reports/minutes
- communicating with relevant official bodies
Political parties represented in parliament employ party agents, who are mostly based at party headquarters (usually in capital cities). Opportunities are advertised in political party magazines, by careers services, in national newspapers, in relevant publications such as New Statesman and The House Magazine, and on websites such as Working for an MP.
Competition for jobs is intense, so while there are no set qualifications for becoming a political party agent, employment is usually dependent on possessing a good degree. A degree in any discipline is acceptable, but preferred subjects include politics, government, public/social administration, social policy, law, history, business studies and economics. A postgraduate qualification may be beneficial, particularly for graduates without relevant undergraduate degrees.
It is also normally essential to hold substantial relevant experience – this can be gained via paid or voluntary employment with the appropriate party, through campaign work or a European Commission placement.
- Good research skills
- Analytical skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- IT skills
A demonstrable knowledge of and enthusiasm for politics is essential. Potential employees should also be capable of dealing confidently with people in important and influential positions.