Lobbyists monitor the government’s activity and work on campaigns to change or improve policy and law.Job Category:
What you will do:
Your main aim is to influence the government or to help others to influence the government. You’ll advise your clients on policies and processes, and represent their views to Parliament.
- help clients understand legal or political processes and help them build a strategy to improve those processes
- investigate when new legislation is due to be released and support clients in preparing a response
- provide information and strategic direction to clients or government agencies
- organise meetings between clients and government departments
- attend party and committee conferences
- read reports and information produced by government agencies, NGOs, Think Tanks, charities, and other agencies
- write press releases, articles, reports, newsletters, and digital content
- work directly with politicians or civil servants
In the UK, you will also need to follow the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ code of conduct.
You could work at:
- an independent consultancy
- a public relations organisation
- an NGO or charity
- a Think Tank
- a pressure group
- a government agency
You may also work ‘in-house’, meaning you lobby the government to change policies in line with a private employer’s aims and missions, for example, to stop testing cosmetics on animals.
You could become a freelance lobbyist after you have enough experience.
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
As well as:
- administration & organisational skills
- the ability to work with lots of different types of people
- the ability to work on your own
- to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
- customer service skills
- strong written and verbal communication skills
- confidence in public speaking and speaking out against a majority
- strong research and analysis skills
- enthusiasm, resilience, and perseverance
- the ability to analyse problems and build a strategy to overcome them (creative skills)
- cultural sensitivity
There are no specific subjects that are required to become a lobbyist since this profession typically doesn’t have strict academic prerequisites. Lobbyists work to influence government policies and decisions on behalf of organisations, corporations, or interest groups. Instead of specific subjects, you should focus on developing a strong educational background, skills, and experiences that can be relevant to this career. Here are some general guidelines:
- English: Strong written and verbal communication skills are crucial for lobbyists. English or related subjects can help you develop these skills.
- Mathematics: While not always directly related to lobbying, math skills can be beneficial for analysing data and understanding economic or financial aspects of policies.
- Social Studies/Politics: coursework in subjects like politics, government, or social studies can provide a foundational understanding of political systems and policies, which is essential for lobbying.
- History: Knowledge of historical events and context can be valuable when advocating for or against policies.
- Economics: Understanding economic principles and how they relate to policies can be an asset for certain lobbying roles.
- Law: While not a requirement, a background in law or legal studies can be particularly relevant, especially for lobbying on legal or regulatory issues.
There are no official entry requirements, however, most organisations will expect you to have a degree in politics, international relations, social policy, law, business studies, or languages.
Senior positions may require a postgraduate qualification in politics, government, or public relations.
You will also need to have significant work experience either through shadowing local government or a consultancy firm, or through voluntary social impact work – for example, with your school, college, or university’s council or politics society.
Working Hours and Environment:
Most lobbyists work a 37-40 hour week, though you may need to work extra hours in the lead up to a campaign or deadline. You will also be busier at different points of the year depending on parliamentary recesses and processes.
If you choose to work as a freelance lobbyist, you set and work your own hours.
Career Path & Progression:
Your career path depends on where you choose to work.
For example, in a consultancy firm, you will follow a clear structure from junior, to manager, to associate, to senior where you’ll bring in new clients. Whereas, in a public affairs department, the progression is less certain but you may be able to move into policy advising or into other political roles.