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Media and communications industry overview

Sarah Blythe

One of the most exciting industries you can enter, a job in media and communications will put you in control of how major organisations share the news of their successes.
Media and communications industry overview

The media and communications industry includes various professionals involved in the creation and distribution of information and data, from online videos to written press releases. The industry encompasses newspaper, magazine, book and directory publishing; software publishing; motion picture and sound recording, publishing and distribution; radio and television broadcasting; internet publishing and broadcasting; and telecommunications services. Media and communications professionals may work for dedicated companies (such as media outlets and content agencies) or, as is more often the case, work in-house for the marketing and communications departments of large organisations. 

Given the variety of roles in this sector, average salaries and working hours across the industry are less likely to reflect the requirements of a specific position within it. For example, communications professionals with up to ten years experience usually earn between $37,000 and $85,000 a year depending on their role. With additional experience, this can rise to up to $120,000. 

Job market outlook

The New Zealand government predicts that job prospects for professionals in the media and communications industry are good, due to the growing demand for skilled workers.

Graphic and web designer roles are expected to grow strongly, as websites, apps and digital media boom and coding abilities bleed into other professions, such as web designers, user experience consultants and journalists. 

Copywriters, journalists and editors are also looking at a very rosy future, with demand increasing exponentially over the coming decade. This is due in large part to companies relying more and more on targeted content to attract the indispensable attention of Google algorithms (and, of course, human readers too). 

Automation has begun to encroach on journalism, as has the boom in user-generated media. This has been reflected in the recent downsizing of some of Australia’s major media organisations. Nevertheless, there remains a strong demand for individuals who possess flair and insight as writers, particularly given how readily they may stand out in a media landscape awash with amateur content. 

Telecommunications roles are expected to grow moderately over the next year, has slowed a little in recent years due to product offering fluctuations as technology evolves.

How to get hired

The possession of a degree in media, communications, marketing, or publishing will certainly improve your chances of getting hired. Having said that, the industry is changing rapidly, with the skills taught at university often lagging behind those required to flourish in the marketplace.  As such, a degree is definitely not mandatory for success in media and communications. 

Gaining real-world experience is an excellent way to demonstrate your ability to add value to an organisation, with many jobs in media and communications requiring you to possess a relevant degree or equivalent industry experience. 

Key skills you need

Adaptability

The ability to flourish in a range of situations is key to success in the media and communications industry, which is currently undergoing a period of seismic change. It’s essential that you’re able to master new products: you never know when something like TikTok will come along and create a whole new way for businesses to communicate with their target audiences!

Curiosity

Whether you’re researching a news story or drafting a media release, you’ll likely find yourself having to learn about unfamiliar ideas, speaking with new people, and expanding your mental horizons. Needless to say, it helps when doing this to maintain a strong sense of curiosity regarding the world and the people in it. 

Enthusiasm

This is one of the most exciting times in the history of the media and communications industry, with the digital revolution transforming the way people connect and share ideas. Accordingly, employers are especially keen to hire aspiring media and communications professionals who are enthusiastic about throwing themselves into a career characterised by constant change, new opportunities, and rapid technological development.