Industry Outlook

The overall outlook for employment in media and communication is fair, with the Department of Labor predicting 4 percent growth through 2028. Job growth will vary depending on the nature of the work and the industry. Employment in some areas is expected to decline at broadcast companies and publishers due to increased online content and diminished newspaper circulations and advertising revenues. News organizations will also consolidate to share resources and staff, which may mean the need for fewer workers. Broadcast news analysts will experience a 1 percent increase in employment in the coming years. Reporters and correspondents will have 12 percent decline in employment through 2028. Multimedia journalism, on the other hand, is expected to continue growing and will offer more employment opportunities for those with knowledge of recording and editing pieces for various media platforms. There may also be more job opportunities with local newspapers and TV and radio stations as opposed to large broadcast networks, where competition among job applicants is typically fierce.

Enrollment in postsecondary schools is expected to grow through 2028, which means demand for postsecondary educators and academic professionals will likewise grow. The Department of Labor predicts faster than average employment growth of 11 percent in the coming years for part-time and full-time postsecondary teachers. Hiring rates will vary, however, depending on educational institutions’ budgets. For example, in public colleges and universities, budgets are controlled by local and state governments. If the governments reduce spending on higher education, there may be fewer employment opportunities for educators. Also, the growing trend is for educational institutions to hire teachers for part-time positions, and competition for full-time positions as well as full-time tenure positions is expected to be keen.

Job growth for college and university professors will also vary depending on the field of study. Communications professors will have good employment opportunities through 2028: The DOL predicts 5 percent job growth for postsecondary communications teachers. As of 2018, there were 35,800 communications professors employed in the United States, and that number will grow to 37,700 by 2028. Teachers with a Ph.D. will have better job opportunities than those with a master’s degree.

Communications majors who pursue a career in market research have a bright future. The Department of Labor predicts 20 percent employment growth for market research analysts, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations. Companies and organizations will continue to need market research and data to understand their customers’ needs and wants, with the overall goal of increasing sales and improving business efficiency. Market researchers will continue to be in demand to help companies develop marketing strategies, conduct customer surveys, and analyze and report on the market research findings. There were 681,900 market research analysts and marketing specialists employed in the United States in 2018; that number is expected to increase to 821,100 by 2028.

Average employment growth, approximately 6 percent, is predicted for public relations specialists through 2028, according to the DOL. There will continue to be a need for public relations specialists to help individuals, groups, and companies maintain and enhance their good reputation. Also, as social media continues to grow, companies will need public relations specialists’ assistance with social media strategies and messaging, and guidance in monitoring the conversations with customers and the general public. Job growth will be tempered by the fierce competition in the field. Public relations is a popular industry and the job candidates always far outweigh the number of job openings. In May 2018, there were 270,000 public relations specialists working in the United States. By 2028, that number will rise to 287,300.

Advertising, promotions, or marketing managers will have faster-than-average employment growth the next few years. The DOL predicts 8 percent job growth through 2028 for this field. Marketing managers will be in demand because marketing plays an important role in an organization’s revenue stream. Advertising and promotions managers are also important to companies, however, and will continue to be needed to help manage existing advertising and promotional campaigns. They will also be needed to introduce new products to the marketplace. A decline in employment of advertising and promotions managers in newspaper publishing is expected to continue, while more jobs will be available in digital media. Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers will be needed to help companies reach customers through websites, social media, and live chats. Competition is keen for these types of jobs; those with advertising management software skills and digital and social media knowledge will have the best chances of securing work. Approximately 28,400 advertising and promotions managers and 280,100 marketing managers will be employed in the United States by 2028.

Like many career fields, communications faced significant challenges from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The ability for many communications professionals to work remotely allowed them to better adapt to the restrictions created by lockdowns. Network availability and a strong IT infrastructure proved essential to workers in all aspects of communications industries. Those teaching communications in higher education shifted to remote platforms to connect with students and may have faced reduced support for research and other academic activities, hiring freezes, and other changes.

A decline in revenue of more than 12 percent in the public relations firms industry was expected for 2020 due to the pandemic, according to the market research group IBISWorld. One area that fared well, however, was crisis public relations services, which had high demand due to businesses needing communications help to minimize fallout. The public relations industry overall is expected to rebound well after the pandemic and through 2025. The market research group projects that "as growth resumes, increased corporate profit is expected to enable marketing budgets to expand, which will likely increase demand for public relations services." The U.S. television broadcasting industry is also expected to recover from a nearly 12 percent decline in revenue in 2020, with strong growth predicted through 2026. "Digital distribution will likely remain an important component of the industry's strategy as consumers' relationship to TV content continues to evolve." TV broadcasters will also have improved growth compared to other media industries because of the dominance of large media companies with many resources.

As for the advertising industry, the media company GroupM sees a "K-shaped recovery" that is similar to how the overall economy is recovering in 2021 and going forward into 2022. Digital advertising fared best during 2020, growing by up to 5 percent compared to 2019, and is expected to account for 55 percent of all advertising tracked in 2021. In general, about 5 percent growth in the advertising industry is predicted for 2022 and about 4 percent annually through 2024, with "accelerated pace of investment in digital media by marketers of all sizes."