Careers advice > Features > On your marks: why you should get into event management

On your marks: why you should get into event management

Whether it’s holding a business conference, raising money for a charity, or putting on the mother of all parties, events are a cornerstone of the hospitality industry. And if you’re looking to break into a job in this sector, you’ll be please to hear that now is exactly the right time to do it.

Why’s that?

Because due a number of major upcoming events – especially the 2012 London Olympic Games - there is a greater need than ever for more people to dive into the industry head first. The Olympics brings with it a whole host of other events, partly due to the increased economic activity and boosted numbers of tourists. To learn more about some of the great opportunities that are around at the moment, check out our careers advice resources and our Olympics job finder.

Why else?

According to the People 1st report ‘Highlighting Professionalism in the Events Industry’, the impact of the recession is, due to the need to really stand out in an increasingly competitive sector, many events companies are investing heavily in training. After all, only those with the best trained people are going to make it out the other side, right? Couple this with a large gap in practical experience and skills, and you’re left with a huge opportunity to make a big splash in an exciting and fast-paced sector.

What kind of salary can you expect?

Event managers are looking at good money. Data from our salary checker shows the average wage of an event manager is about £25,000, while those on the planning or sales side can expecting something more in the region of £29 - £32k - usually with benefits and performance-related bonuses on top. It may be a high-pressure job, but there are significant rewards, both financially and on a personal level - imagine seeing hundreds of people having a great time, all thanks to your work.

Is it all planning and management?

No! There are all sorts of opportunities in the events sector. Right now, there is a lack of skilled people in customer service and chef roles, so there’s never been a better time to step up and make an impression. Contract catering is a big partner of the events industry. At last check, we had nearly 600 jobs available for contract caterers of various types. To find out more about the kind of hospitality jobs that are currently available, take a look at our hospitality job search.

Will an events role help me build on my skills?

There are lots of opportunities for you to play to your strengths. But for more advanced positions, particularly in event management and planning, you’ll need to venture into many different roles, some of which might well take you out of your comfort zone. There will be a lot of exciting opportunities to learn and expand on your existing specialities - the events industry thrives on being varied, adaptable and innovative, after all.

What kind of skills do event managers need?

The best event managers can lend an informed eye to every aspect of an event. Because of this, the job requires a mixture of creative and practical skills, from the artistic direction and conceptualising of audiovisual elements, to procurement, budgeting and dealing with clients. And don’t forget that you’ll need a good knowledge of health and safety and sustainability laws. It is a fascinating, intense and diverse role - but not one for the faint hearted. You need to be flexible too. Generally, you’ll be working ordinary hours, but in the run up to large events you’ll need to be prepared for a lot of overtime (and your fair share of frustration). Don’t worry though - it’ll all seem worth it on the day!

For more information on the skills that you’ll need for event administration and management roles, check out our events PDF pack:

How do I make the big time in events?

The People 1st report shows that events companies prefer to take their top people from within the organisation. Why? Because it’s the best way to get people with a proven record of good work, who know existing clients and have the necessary skills.

Where do I get events experience?

If you want to get into event management, but you’re unable to get your foot in the door with an events organisation, then take a look at other areas of the hospitality sector. Hotels in particular tend to host a lot of conferences and other large events. According to the British Hospitality Association, 60% of conferences and events take place in hotels.

Getting into an events position at a hotel could be a good way to build up the necessary experience to get into a company that focuses purely on event management and planning. With all the hiring going on around the Olympics, now could be the perfect time to go down this route, if you’re finding it tough to get into an events company.

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