So, you want my job? Senior comms manager, media and campaigns, Health and Safety Executive

PRWeek takes a sidelong look at recruitment in public sector comms. Do you fancy Jane Gregory's job as senior communications manager, media and campaigns, at the Health and Safety Executive?

Working at HSE is good preparation for work as an air traffic controller, says Jane Gregory
Working at HSE is good preparation for work as an air traffic controller, says Jane Gregory

Jane Gregory

Senior comms manager, media and campaigns

Starting salary/salary band?
Government Communications Service Band 3 starts at around £37,000.

What qualifications do you need?
Professional qualification in a marcoms discipline such as journalism or public relations. I personally have a postgraduate diploma in marketing and a 2:1 Honours degree. A background in media generally will always be beneficial.

What level of experience do you need?
Several years’ experience working across campaigns and media relations. The work we do across the Corporate Communications Branch can be complex, as the Health and Safety Executive is a national regulator, so experience of converting complicated information into engaging content that will influence perceptions and behaviours is key.

Is previous experience in a public sector comms role necessary/useful?
I have worked in many different public sector organisations, which I think helps in understanding some of the complexities of service marketing and communications. However, I think having an open mind and being able to bring a different perspective to the table from having a variety of life experiences is also important. We live in a diverse world and good communicators need to know how to reach people from all walks of life.

What are the main day-to-day challenges?
Challenging people’s perceptions. Knowing what works and why in the comms landscape to change people’s behaviours to health and safety, and proving you are doing that. It’s not easy getting people to understand that managing risk in the workplace is about protecting people from harm while they are at work – you wouldn’t put yourself in danger of harm at home and you shouldn’t need to at work – that’s my day-to-day challenge.

What is the best part of the job?
They say variety is the spice of life and in this role, it certainly is. Every day is different, which makes this such an interesting job. One day I can be planning and creating campaign concepts and working across teams to test and learn what works for that particular sector; the next I can be briefing the HSE Chair on an issue while dealing with a request from a national journalist about a fatal tractor incident; and the next I can be talking to stakeholders from different industry sectors on how companies can contribute to the Help Great Britain Work Well campaign, writing a film script for a minister and getting creative with social media content.

What is the most unusual fact you know as a result of this job?
That HSE regulates funeral directors, where the majority of their work is embalming.

If you get an interview, do say?
That you like a challenge. HSE operates in a complex landscape that involves prevention and regulation. This provides a wide and varied remit for comms activity, so you need to know your ABCs… agriculture, biochemistry and construction, all the way through to zoos.

If you get an interview, don’t say?
You’re a tortoise. You need to be the swift hare with the tortoise’s composure and steadfast approach. One task at a time is not an option; this is a role where you will have the variety and opportunity to be involved in lots of different communication activities – embrace it.

If you’re good at this job you might also be well-suited to?
Air traffic controller – as you will be good at seeing the bigger picture, are able to keep things moving, prioritising what needs to be landed and what can be held over. You can bring in pieces of work on time and on message by navigating an often-difficult environment; communicate well under pressure; and you’re capable of dealing with the unexpected VIP crash landing every so often.

Please note: Interviewees for 'So, you want my job' are not leaving their current role

Click here to subscribe to the FREE public sector bulletin to receive dedicated public sector news, features and comment straight to your inbox.

Make sure you register for the site to access more than one story per month.

To submit a news, comment, case study or analysis idea for the public sector bulletin, email

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in