Immediately following college, communications graduates pursue roles in marketing, public relations and advertising to build their knowledge in the field. After obtaining significant work experience, some professionals choose to leave the corporate world and start their own businesses or work as consultants full-time. Communications consultants perform similar duties as full-time employees of companies. However, these professionals are hired on as contractors and work on a project-by-project basis with clients across various industries.
The primary task of communications consultants is to help their clients create a positive brand image in the marketplace through marketing communications. Communications consultants lend their expertise by creating communications plans, advising on brand positioning and strategy, generating brochures and coordinating events. Additional duties may include producing newsletters; writing speeches and press releases or creating copy for internal and external websites. The average national salary for communications consultants in the U.S. was $77,000 as of June 2011.
Communication consultant salaries range significantly based on factors such as geography. For example, a June 2011 SalaryExpert report stated that professionals in Houston earned an average salary of $51,538. Communications consultants in Chicago averaged $57,184. Professionals working in New York City’s Manhattan borough averaged $51,889. In the southern region of the U.S., communications consultants averaged $52,501 in Atlanta, $54,383 in Dallas and $38,346 in Miami.
Average salaries for communications consultants also fluctuate according to industry. A January 2011 Glassdoor.com report showed that communications consultants working for medical firms reported earning an average salary of $69,629 annually. Communications consultants working in the insurance sector reported salaries ranging between $55,000 and $64,000 annually. In the banking sector, communication consultants reported salaries that fell between $59,000 and $111,000 per year. Communications consultants working in human resources firms reported salaries ranging between $57,000 and $113,000 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition” stated that jobs for marketing, advertising, promotions, sales and public relations professionals will increase 13 percent during the 2008 to 2018 decade. Likewise, jobs for public relations specialists will increase 24 percent during the same period. Because communications consultants work across advertising, PR, sales and promotions, job prospects for this role should be positive through 2018. Factors contributing to job growth include increasing competition in the marketplace both domestically and internationally. Firms will seek professionals such as consultants to help them differentiate their products and services in the global business environment. Also, firms will be more prone to outsourcing creative tasks to curb costs and maximize staff resources. Communications consultants with college education and strong computer and creative skills will have the best chances for increasing their salary potential in the job market.