The public service field has loads of rewarding careers and if you are looking for an ideal option, you must consider your personality type, strengths and goals. More importantly, you must take the time to understand the different public service careers available. While they may seem similar at first glance, they are quite different. For instance, public administration, public relations and public affairs are three different careers in the field of public service. While they may sound the same, they are quite different.

Since this piece will focus on public affairs. Let us take a look at what it is before proceeding to the key public affairs trends for 2022.

Public Affairs – What is it?

At its core, the term public affairs is used for describing a company’s relationship with its stakeholders. This could include groups or individuals interested in the organization’s various affairs, like the media, unions, charities, business groups, think tanks, trade associations, shareholders, clients, local communities, customers, and civil servants.

Those who practice public affairs engage stake holders to explain various organizational views and policies on a plethora of public policy issues, helping legislators and policy makers lay down or amend or introduce better legislation and policy. They also provide factual and statistical information and discuss issues that could affect a company’s ability to run seamlessly.

Lobbying plays a critical part in the world of politics and it does so by promoting stakeholder’s views to various policy makers. This helps them develop and improve legislation. Public affairs combines things like strategic communications advice, information dissemination, social and corporate responsibility, issue management, media communications and government relations.

As mentioned earlier, the main aim of public affairs practitioners is to develop and maintain a formidable reputation, influence public policy, and most importantly, keep the stake holders happy by finding common ground.

What Do PA Practitioners Do?

Public affair practitioners engage in various activities, which include the following:

  • Consulting
  • Advocacy
  • Advising
  • Keeping tables on political information and activity
  • Providing stakeholders with information with the help of media engagement or directly
  • Lobbying on various legislation or policies

Now that we have discussed with public affairs is, let us talk about the key public affairs trends you can see in 2022.

Political Personalities Will be More Influential than Ever

The prime minister versus the chancellor is arguably the most interesting political narratives out there. In 2022, however, this could make a bigger impact than before. This is particularly true if there is no improvement in economic growth.

Smaller Teams and Bigger Organizations

The size of public affairs teams is getting smaller while organizations are getting bigger. According to a survey more than eighty percent of the respondents working on teams have ten colleagues or less. Fifty percent of respondents worked in teams with three or even fewer members. Only five percent of the survey’s respondent were working in teams with twenty colleagues or higher.

The Ways of Working are Changing Quickly

Many public affairs employees claim that their roles and priorities are quickly changing.  They also mentioned that their work priorities are making a massive difference and collaborating with leaders who trust them is as important as a flexible job schedule and salary.

Public affairs and government affairs practitioners are slowly but surely understanding the new ways of collaborating and working. For those who are wondering, the pandemic was the main reason behind these changes.

Also, compared to 2021, more PA professionals are returning to their offices. With about seventeen percent working in an office full time. This is significantly higher compared to the five percent of people working in offices in 2020.

Public Affairs Budgets Could Grow Even Further

As mentioned earlier, the way  officials are working has changed significantly because of the pandemic. Now that things have improved in 2022 more and more public affairs professionals are realizing that going digital is the most effective way to move forward. Of course, this is rapidly changing work culture and creating a trend that many PA offices were already planning to implement for a long time.

Therefore, you could expect public affairs offices to increase their budgets to invest in various software apps to make remote working easier and more effective. Many have compared this to the changes seen in the early 2000s where companies started adopting media monitoring software. It is almost impossible to imagine communications employees working effectively without the use of a media monitoring software.

Similarly, it would be fair to expect the public affairs industry to follow a similar trend. Which will include various public affairs tools. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the mainstream market to adopt these tools, as most of them are quite effective. More importantly, they are significantly better than doing guesswork, which will surely become a thing of the past quite soon.

As mentioned initially, these developments were already underway well before the pandemic took place. So it isn’t necessarily a brand new trend. However, what’s new is that public affairs offices will adopt more of the tools and software apps. Which will require them to massively increase their budget. Many believe that the consumption of such tools could require companies to increase five to ten percent of their annual budget, or even double it in some cases.

Final Thoughts

The world of public affairs is evolving quite rapidly and the trends that we have discussed in this piece prove that. Sure, there will be plenty of things that may not change, but the industry is going in the right direction.

Besides the widespread adoption of software apps and change in team sizes. Several other trends could pop up down the line. This just goes to show that the public affairs landscape changes quite quickly and requires practitioners to change with it to stay on top of their game.