what is a planning officer?

As a planning officer, you are responsible for developing and designing urban areas. You need to balance modern amenities like houses and conserving natural heritage to create a diverse and vibrant environment for communities to live and work. You shape the way cities are developed and play a role in preserving biodiversity and architectural heritage.

Your primary role is to identify community needs and develop short-term and long-term strategic plans to grow and revitalise the area. You may examine plans for proposed schools or facilities and determine if they meet the needs of a changing population. As an area grows, your responsibility is to ensure the community can manage social, economic and environmental issues. For instance, you propose the development of parks or shelters for the homeless and make the community attractive to businesses.

As a planning officer, you can work on broad community programmes or focus on specific issues affecting a population. Ultimately, your projects should promote the best use of community land and resources. Planning officers often work with public officials to formulate strategies that address issues in various communities. Since you are familiar with legislation procedures, you speed up the approval process of various projects.

A planning officer uses multiple tools in their work. For instance, you need geographic information system tools and statistical, visualisation and presentation programs.

Would working as a planning officer in construction suit your passion for community development? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a planning officer role.


planning officer jobs

average salary of a planning officer

According to National Careers, planning officers’ average entry-level salary is £18,000 per year. When you have additional qualifications and a few years of experience, your compensation package increases to £45,000 per year. Planning officers work for government agencies and receive employment benefits like medical allowances and pension contributions. If you work for a not-for-profit organisation, you will likely receive extra benefits like end-year bonuses.

what factors affect the salary of a planning officer?

As a planning officer, your salary fluctuates depending on the scope of your role and the employer. Planning officers working for private organisations like not-for-profit corporations take home better salaries than those working for local authorities. The company size influences your pay structure. Large non-governmental organisations have unlimited resources and pay more than smaller NGOs. The scope of your role also determines your responsibilities and your earnings. If your job involves developing planning projects and seeking approval only, you earn less compared to a planning officer tasked with supervising development projects from planning to execution. Planning officers in large towns have more responsibilities due to regular development projects. Smaller towns pay planning officers less since the projects are less complex.


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Randstad employer brand photo, internal, people, consultants, branch, branches

types of planning officers

The types of planning officers depend on the specific duties and roles. Some common planning officers include:

  • town planners: your job is to plan and design facilities and buildings in an urban setting to make them attractive and improve convenience. Some of the projects you design include roads and public parks to add aesthetic appeal to an area.
  • urban designers: as a planning officer in charge of urban design, you guide development designs that improve an area's visual appeal. You develop regeneration schemes and create practical open spaces and landscapes.


working as a planning officer

As a planning officer, you bring viable developments to life and protect the environment in urban spaces. You also develop useful ways to utilise community lands. Check out the daily activities of a planning officer and their work schedules.



education and skills

Some of the routes of becoming a planning officer include:

  • university degree: you need a university degree in planning, environment and development or urban planning and property development. You can also find courses in the city and regional planning. If you have a degree in an unrelated subject, complete a postgraduate transition course in a related field. The Royal Town Planning Institute should accredit your degree.
  • apprenticeship: to become a planning officer, you can complete a chartered town planner degree apprenticeship. You can become a planning technician or town planning assistant with the apprenticeship.

skills and competencies

As a planning officer, you need the following skills and competencies:

  • communication skills: as a planning officer, you have to be well-versed with different types of communications. For instance, you need written communication skills to write reports and technical write-ups. During negotiations, you need excellent communication skills to articulate your arguments and communicate clearly.
  • strategic thinking skills: as a planning officer, you need to develop practical solutions for improving development projects. Strategic skills help you find loopholes in proposals and improve them to speed up approval.
  • leadership skills: planning officers need leadership skills to lead discussions for developing better city plans or initiate community development projects. You also need to motivate your team members.
  • project management skills: as a planning officer, you are responsible for supervising your development projects. Project management skills help you plan the entire project budget and timeline.
  • organisational skills: planning officers handle multiple projects simultaneously. You have to keep the documentation for every project and organise reports. Organisational skills help you with maintaining accurate records.



FAQs about working as a planning officer

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