To Firm or Not to Firm, That is the Question

By: Sarah Copeland

I admit, I already have a bias opinion about this topic. But I promise to remain objective so that I can put forth the facts. This blog is for the purpose of providing the pros and cons of working in a PR firm or for an in-house position. And just basically, the overall differences between the two options.

Decided between a firm or a corporation is a question that all PR majors come to eventually. Do we want to apply to work in a firm or would we rather try and find a job in-house? However, it isn’t something addressed in our classes. So I went out to find my own answers.

Obviously, there are major differences between agencies and in-house roles. And there are several questions  to address before making a decision. These include: Where would it be better to work for future career opportunities? Which option has a higher paycheck? But the most important question should be: What would be a better fit for my work preferences? Hopefully, these pros and cons can help answer that.

FirmsImage Source

Corporate Organizations (in-house)


  • -Can become experts on the industry
  • -Sense of true dedication
  • -More responsibility to promote that one brand
  • -You can market something you really believe in
  • -Better to be on site during a crisis (more info available)
  • -Traditional job with (possibly) higher paychecks


  • -Harder to advance (to get promotions)
  • -If you don’t like a niche focus
  • -Co-workers (outside PR) don’t understand what you do

Agency (firms)


  • -Wide range and variety of clients
  • -On-the-job learning
  • -More frequent opportunities for promotions
  • -Lively and creative culture
  • -Comradery
  • -Good training ground to exposed to everything PR


  • -Fast-paced environment
  • -Have to take the accounts you are assigned to
  • -Juggling responsibilities of multiple clients
  • -Expensive for small businesses to afford
  • -Until you move up, limited income

From my research, it looks like the debate about which is better could go either way. So, to put it simply, the decision is yours. And the bright side is, PR professionals switch sides all the time. Therefore, the decision isn’t always final.




Adams, B. (2013, January 16). 5 major differences between agency and in-house PR. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from

Dale, E. (2014, September 2). PR agency vs. in-house? Retrieved April 01, 2016, from

Edwards, I. (2012, March 24). What are the differences between working in-house and at an agency? Retrieved April 01, 2016, from

Johnston, S. (n.d.). Advertising, PR — Blogs, Articles and Jobs – Retrieved April 01, 2016, from

Nazar, M. (2016, January 26). Here’s the definitive answer to picking agency vs. in-house life – Corporate Ink. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from

Winchel, B. (2015, December 30). 5 differences between in-house and agency PR. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from








Author: Sarah Copeland

I am a Strategic Communications student at the University of North Texas majoring in Public Relations with a minor in European History. I expect to graduate May 2017 and find a career in External Relations maybe focusing on Issues Management. I am also a proud member of my Alpha Delta Pi chapter where I hold the Intramural's officer position. I am also a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society as well as the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. When I am not attending classes, I work in retail. I am a former manager at Justice Just for Girls where I worked for over two years until my store closed. I am currently working for Gymboree as a Sales Lead manager. My work is enjoyable most when I am able to help customers and also when interesting conversations arise. In my free time I enjoy reading fiction novels, completing jigsaw puzzles, watching movies, playing practically any sport, and eating as much ice cream and and other desserts as possible.

One thought on “To Firm or Not to Firm, That is the Question”

  1. This post is very interesting for a student wondering what type of public relations to get into working in a PR firm or for an in-house position. Very informative post, thanks 🙂


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