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Public affairs consultant (research): job description

Public affairs consultant (research): job description

Public affairs consultancy researchers gather, analyse and review relevant political, legislative and public policy information, and provide their public and private sector clients with advice about what resulting lobbying action is needed.
Applicants are likely to need work experience or an interest in politics to enter this field.

What does a public affairs consultancy researcher do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Responsibilities of the job vary according to the size and sector of the employing organisation, but may include:

  • reviewing government reports produced by parliamentary working groups and select committees
  • reading daily House of Commons and House of Lords reports
  • analysing information produced by The European Commission, government departments, Hansard, non-government organisations (NGOs) and think tanks
  • studying previous civil service reports and research and committee papers
  • highlighting relevant matters to clients
  • responding to information requests in writing, by telephone or in person
  • organising and attending meetings
  • discussing relevant issues with clients
  • writing reports
  • assessing the impact of changes to legislation, policy or codes of practice

Typical employers of public affairs consultancy researchers

  • Large public affairs consultancies
  • Communications companies
  • Small specialist consultancies
  • Policy departments in public relations, accountancy and law firms

Opportunities are advertised in national newspapers, by careers services, specialist recruitment agencies and in publications such as PR Week, New Statesman, Electus and their respective websites. Speculative applications can be advantageous – the Hollis UK Press and Public Relations Annual provides useful contact information.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into this profession for both university graduates and school leavers.

A 2.1 in any subject is acceptable, although a degree in public relations, politics, government, public administration, social policy, business studies, management, European studies, international studies or law can be particularly advantageous. Relevant postgraduate qualifications are also beneficial. Other qualifications are also acceptable.

Relevant work experience is almost always essential.

To find out how to get into a career in this area via a school leaver route, visit the civil service section and the media section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for public affairs consultancy researchers

  • Good research skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT skills
  • Initiative
  • Diplomacy
  • Discretion

A demonstrable knowledge of and enthusiasm for politics is essential.

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