Types of Careers in Dialogue and Engagement

September 11, 2023

Around the world, governments and organizations are increasingly seeking public input for the design of policies, programs and services to better meet the needs of communities they serve. Evidence shows that public engagement leads to more innovative ideas, better decisions, greater public support of policies and stronger democracies.

A growing need for dialogue and engagement professionals

Your Unique Perspective and Skills Are Needed

Public engagement teams support governments, communities and organizations to design, convene and report on public engagement events ranging from small focus groups to large-scale engagement campaigns. Roles may include project management, partner relations, event planning, community outreach, facilitation, marketing and communications, policy and data analysis and reporting, financial administration, and more. 

This growing field draws people with a wide variety of skills and experiences, such as:

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Passion for connecting with communities
  • Writing and presentation skills
  • Fluency in multiple languages
  • Inter-cultural literacy
  • Commitment to equity, dialogue and democratic practices
  • Conflict resolution, strategic planning, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work independently, establish priorities, meet deadlines and multi-task
  • Ability to establish relationships and work collaboratively with others

Pursue Fulfilling and Meaningful Career Paths 

Public engagement professionals find work in all levels of government, public agencies, the private sector, independent consultancy groups, and community-based organizations. They help involve the public in decision-making across all sectors, including municipal planning, health care, transportation, social services, climate and environment and technology. Their job titles include:

  • Learning and Communications Coordinator
  • Stakeholder and Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Dialogue and Engagement Analyst
  • Indigenous Engagement Specialist
  • Project and Engagement Manager
  • Program Director
  • Executive Director

A background in dialogue also supports careers in leadership, conflict resolution, international relations, community-building and more! To find a job in dialogue and public engagement, or for more example job titles, tasks and qualifications, visit IAP2 Canada’s job board.

Local Learning Opportunities

While there are multiple paths into a career in public engagement, a few local opportunities in the Greater Vancouver area include:

Simon Fraser University’s Dialogue and Civic Engagement

Certificate Part time, online, eligible for Stronger BC future skills grant A professional part-time

A professional part-time program to gain skills and receive mentorship around the deisign and implementation of engagement strategies.

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Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue’s Semester in Dialogue

Simon Fraser University undergraduate students, Vancouver campus, 10 credits

An original, interdisciplinary experience that bridges the classroom with the community and creates space for students to design projects that explore issues of personal and civic importance.

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International Association for Public Participation Training and Certification

Various courses, online

A series of integrated training courses to advance learning in public participation and engagement, for emerging and experienced professionals, with the opportunity to seek formal certification.

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Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue’s Resources

Online resources

Go at your own pace of learning and peruse the resources on our website. These range from general dialogue and public engagement tools, such as the Strategic Framework for Commented Public EngagementPublic Engagement Toolkit and ENABLES Framework—to topic-specific guides such as Beyond Inclusion and the International Climate Engagement Network report.

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Interested in learning more about what a career path in dialogue looks like? Reach out to Knowledge & Practice Manager, Nicole Armos.

Email Nicole

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