What Is a Policy Adviser? (With Skills and Salary information)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 23, 2021

Policy advisers are professionals that promote beneficial policy changes or developments within organizations. They often use analytical and critical thinking skills to advise executives and other powerful figures in many industries. If you're passionate about politics and influencing positive change in your community and workplace, you may consider learning about the role of a policy adviser. In this article, we discuss what is a policy adviser, their job duties, common career requirements, typical work environments and the average salary and career outlook information for this role.

Related: A Guide to Public Policy Careers

What is a policy adviser?

A policy adviser is a professional that analyzes the practical and functional aspects of the policies in a specific field, such as in the government or a business. They usually have expert knowledge of the industry in which they work and the legal aspects of policymaking. This allows them to provide advice about existing policies and explore opportunities for improvement or alteration. For example, they may review the efficiency of a policy or identify any issues. Policy advisers use their skills to encourage organization executives to make positive changes within their organizations.

Many policy advisers work in government positions and research issues such as immigration, education or the environment. They can assist the development of Democratic, Republican and nonpartisan policies. Policy advisers may also work alongside policy analysts to research, develop and implement new policies. This includes doing extensive research on different solutions to current policy issues.

Related: How To Become Policy Analyst in 5 Steps (Plus Job Duties)

What do policy advisers do?

A policy adviser's duties typically include researching, writing, analyzing and reviewing elements of different policies. They also interact with senior executives, chief officers and government officials to discuss legislation changes. Here's a list of additional job duties that policy advisers may perform:

  • Creating reports and presentations for various organizational managers

  • Regularly analyzing issues and providing advice within a specific timeframe

  • Partaking in policy meetings

  • Scheduling meetings, events, debates or conferences

  • Maintaining relationships with stakeholders

  • Monitoring the development of resolutions

  • Updating their knowledge of current legislation and regulations

  • Assessing the impact of policies on different communities

  • Collaborating with policy analysts

  • Gathering and analyzing data

  • Performing consultations with colleagues and stakeholders

  • Studying and learning the policies of a specific sector or industry

Career requirements for policy advisers

Policy adviser positions typically require at least a bachelor's degree, but concentration requirements may vary between employers or industries. For example, a government policy adviser role may require a bachelor's degree in political science or public administration. More advanced roles may even require a master's or doctoral degree. Here's a list of more undergraduate concentrations that policy advisers may choose to earn:

  • Business administration

  • Social policy

  • Economics

  • Anthropology

  • Political science

  • Sociology

  • Psychology

  • Law

  • Foreign affairs

Other career requirements may include previous experience working in a related position. Since research is often a large part of a policy adviser's role, employers may require you to have experience working with different research methodologies. Policy advisers also require specialized knowledge of the industry and the organization in which they work. Most of these professionals also develop skills such as:

  • Time management

  • Stakeholder management

  • Conceptual thinking

  • Critical thinking

  • Problem-solving

  • Written and verbal communication

  • Interpersonal

  • Teamwork

  • Judgment

  • Strategic thinking

  • Research and analysis

  • Organization

  • Adaptability

  • Commitment

  • Presentation

Related: 15 Political Science Careers To Choose From

Common work environments

Policy advisers can work in environments such as offices, schools, medical centers, government agencies and private businesses. Work environments typically vary by the industry or field in which you want to work. They may work at desks during an average workday and conduct research or create reports. Some policy advisers travel for conferences and other field-related events, such as lobbying. Most policy advisers work normal business hours, but some urgent situations, such as large time-sensitive projects, may require working overtime.

Related: Types of Research: Definitions and Examples

Policy adviser salary

Indeed doesn't have salary information for policy advisers, but Indeed does have information about policy analysts. Policy analysts make an average of $78,480 per year. Salaries typically depend on a policy adviser's experience, qualifications, education and the company or industry for which they work.

Tips for getting a job as a policy adviser

Here's a list of general tips that may help you earn a position as a policy adviser:

  • Determine the issues you're most passionate about. Evaluating the issues that matter to you, such as healthcare access or climate change, may help you determine what kind of policy adviser job you want to pursue. Deciding on an industry to work in may also help you narrow your job search.

  • Educate yourself on current policy standards or rules. Researching the basic information in your desired industry, such as terminology, topics of interest and proposed laws, may increase your value to potential employers. This is because you may demonstrate an awareness or familiarity with the policy advisery profession.

  • Gain experience in the field. Some employers require candidates to have previous experience working as a policy adviser or a related role. You may gain experience by getting an internship, volunteering at nonprofit organizations, working for small businesses or joining an election candidate's campaign.

  • Start networking. Networking often helps people find jobs because they may connect with other professionals in the field who have knowledge about new or upcoming job positions. Some people also prefer to hire candidates that they know.

  • Customize your resume to each job posting. Customize your resume to each job posting you apply to so your application may successfully pass through applicant tracking software. You can do this by using specific keywords that appear in each job posting and highlighting certain skills or work experience that the postings require.

Explore more articles