8 jobs in politics (with requirements and descriptions)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working in politics can be a good choice if you want to make a difference in your community. There are many ways of doing this, many of which don't require a lot of qualifications. If you're interested in politics-related jobs, knowing some options and what they entail can help you make a choice. In this article, we list eight jobs in politics for you to consider.

8 jobs in politics

Here are eight jobs in politics for you to consider together with the requirements and a brief description of each:

1. Policy officer

National average salary: £36,932 per year

Primary duties: A policy officer works in local government to help with the provision of local services and implement council policies. This job can entail different levels of responsibility, depending on experience. They may evaluate and manage local government projects, manage and prepare contracts, help with funding and budgets, supervise administrative work, advise people, handle enquiries and prepare reports or briefing papers. Other names for this role include local government officer and democratic services officer.

There are various ways of becoming a policy officer. The options vary depending on the specific department in which one might want to work. One option is to get a university degree in a relevant subject like urban design or town planning. Alternatively, one could seek college courses or apprenticeships related to administration. There are also advanced apprenticeships in public service operational delivery. With a few GCSEs or A-levels, one may even be able to apply directly. In some cases, this might mean an entry-level position like an administrative assistant at first before working up to more senior positions.

2. Journalist

National average salary: £25,793 per year

Primary duties: There are many specialisations within journalism, including politics. There are also different types of journalism, such as newspaper, radio and television. Some journalists might work in more than one of these, work independently or focus on the production of political documentaries. The work includes thorough investigation such as discovering facts about an event, attending press conferences, interviewing people, developing contacts, following up on leads, pitching story ideas, recording meetings and producing compelling journalistic work in its various forms.

There are often no formal requirements to become a journalist as these typically vary from one employer to another. A degree in a relevant discipline like journalism, political science, English or media studies can help a lot. There are also college courses in journalism or multimedia journalism. Alternatively, one could find a level 5 journalist or level 7 senior journalist apprenticeship. With some GCSEs or A-levels, it's possible to apply directly to work as a trainee reporter for a local newspaper and work up from there.

3. Civil service officer

National average salary: £27,461 per year

Primary duties: There are various levels within the civil service. For instance, there are civil service administrative officers, executive officers or civil service managers. The duties depend greatly on the department in which the officer works. Some common examples include dealing with enquiries from the public, handling complaints, processing benefit payments, researching information, various administrative tasks and referring cases to competent individuals or departments. With seniority, civil servants could manage a team, train staff, analyse data, advise government representatives, prepare reports and help implement policy.

Entry into civil service work typically doesn't require a university degree, although it might help in some instances. There are college courses in business administration or management and administration. There are also apprenticeships for business administration and public service operational delivery. With some GCSEs, it's possible to apply as an administrative assistant and accumulate enough experience to advance to more senior positions. Important skills include good communication, teamwork and numeracy.

Related: A guide to civil service jobs

4. Trade union officer

National average salary: £30,000 per year

Primary duties: A trade union officer represents their union members, advises them, helps develop policy and can perform research. This can include studying and researching legal policy, work procedures and various agreements. It's also possible to become involved in training, supporting and recruiting local officials. Trade union officers also represent their members before industrial courts or in negotiations. They also help with local dispute settlement and casework. At a head office, a trade union officer could help develop national policy, develop members' learning programmes, work in media relations or represent a union at conferences.

There are various ways of getting a job as a trade union officer including university degrees, apprenticeships and working towards the role. Good subjects to consider for a degree include political science, social science, economics and law. There's also a trade union official higher apprenticeship which takes 18 months. There might also be entry-level or volunteer work with unions that allows individuals to accumulate enough experience to apply for more senior positions. It can be beneficial to have a background in the public sector, training and development, adult education or legal work.

5. Member of parliament

National average salary: £82,000 per year

Primary duties: A member of parliament (MP) is an elected representative within the House of Commons. The only way to become an MP is to win an election for a particular seat. This is possible by joining one of the main political parties or as an independent. There are no formal requirements, but experience in trade unions, local government or assisting an MP can be quite useful. MPs vote on laws and policies, represent their constituents, debate important issues and speak with the media. Prominent MPs can also become part of the government if they're members of the ruling party.

Related: How to become a member of parliament (MP)

6. Intelligence analyst

National average salary: £34,557 per year

Primary duties: An intelligence analyst works with data to help prevent crime and protect national security. This can include gathering data at both the national and international levels, analysing this data with special software, updating databases and intelligence records, presenting findings to government agencies, reviewing analyses, monitoring groups or individuals, observing areas of concern and providing expert testimony in court. This can involve working at an office or within courts and the work itself can be physically and emotionally demanding. Other names for this position include intelligence officer and criminal intelligence analyst.

One can become an intelligence analyst with a university degree in a relevant discipline like psychology, criminology, maths, statistics, computing or social science. Alternatively, it's possible to look for a higher apprenticeship as a cyber security technologist or intelligence analyst. There are also degree apprenticeships for police constables and serious and complex crime investigators. These can provide the necessary skills to apply for intelligence analyst work. There might also be opportunities within the security services to get an entry-level job and then undergo intelligence officer training.

7. Economist

National average salary: £42,897 per year

Primary duties: Economists can work in various areas including research, within governmental bodies and as advisors to policymakers. The work can involve a lot of research, data analysis and the monitoring of current trends. Economists can also develop mathematical models to analyse current data and predict future developments. They can write reports, give presentations and make policy suggestions. Economists can also evaluate the effectiveness of existing policies and make suggestions regarding their adaptation.

There are multiple ways of becoming an economist. One of these is to get a degree in economics, statistics, mathematics or a similar subject. Alternatively, there's a level 6 professional economist apprenticeship or level 7 senior professional economist apprenticeship. There are also training schemes in both the public and private sectors that can equip individuals with the necessary skills. Other sectors which also employ economists include banking, businesses, research bodies and universities.

Related: How to become an economist

8. Public relations director

National average salary: £66,680 per year

Primary duties: A public relations (PR) director manages external communications and media campaigns for their clients who could be politicians, businesses or other organisations. The work can include planning and implementing these campaigns based on client needs, raising awareness of these campaigns, cooperating with a wide range of media, managing relationships with other organisations, managing a budget, following media stories and trends, reporting to clients and representing them at certain events. This could involve working at an office or various locations depending on where events are. Other names for this position include PR account director and communications director.

It's possible to get this job through a university degree in public relations, corporate communications or marketing. Alternatively, it's possible to use experience in another field and become a manager at a public relations firm. This is possible by getting an entry-level job and then working up to managerial positions.

Related: How Much Does an Economist Make? (With Useful FAQs)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries and the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.

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