So many events, so many jobs
As I write there are 16,000 Australian event industry jobs listed on one of the major job search engines. That’s a lot of opportunity waiting for the right candidates. As our national economy shifts from a resource base (mining etc.) to a services base (tourism, education, hospitality etc.) new employment opportunities are opening up.
The Australian events industry has experienced steady growth over the past five years and is expected to continue to grow well into the future. So it is not surprising that event management is an increasingly popular choice for people at various stages of their career.
A career in event management delivers high levels of job satisfaction because the roles are so varied and daily tasks constantly change with the event production cycle. For example, in the early stages of planning an event lots of time is spent developing ideas, engaging suppliers, assembling event teams, laying down the foundations for sales and marketing, preparing schedules, monitoring budgets, conducting site visits and so on. When the time for staging the event finally arrives the tempo increases as you immerse yourself in the real world of events, with real people and real risks. It certainly focuses the mind. You could say that there is never a dull moment in event world. Which is why events people are generally happy with their work.
So what kind of roles are out there and what could suit your needs and dreams?
Let’s look at it this way: There are four broad categories of people looking for work in events.
These are the people who are at the beginning of their career. They could have come straight from school or a gap year, or perhaps they have dabbled for a year or two in a job-for-job’s-sake scenario. These people are ready to make the move into events and are looking for the best place to start.
Administrative Assistant or Event Assistant roles are good options for Event Starters. These roles tend to have little or no direct client contact. Candidates generally have little or no experience in or exposure to events. Event Starter jobs allow candidates to gain an understanding of how events work by being in an environment where they can observe them being produced. These jobs can be found in venues, agencies, production companies, caterers, festivals, local councils and event management companies. Interestingly, Personal/Executive Assistants can also provide great opportunities for learning about events on the job.
These people tend to be mid-career with a few years’ experience in another field. Generally a job that they are not quite happy with. Typically, Career Changers have tertiary qualifications and a good work history supported by credible referees. They are looking for a change but don’t want to waste their years of valuable study and experience.
Event Coordinator and Production Coordinator roles can be a good starting point for Career Changers. At this level you start to build your practical knowledge of events. Employers look for a good event management qualification, experience on numerous events or in a genuinely related field. You will be expected to understand the logistical and technical requirements of the event in general and the many components and be able to understand their basic level of interaction. You must have good office and IT skills and demonstrate an ability to deal with suppliers and clients on a simple basis, so good interpersonal skills are essential. Resourceful, smart, pro-active candidates will have an advantage. Demonstrating an eagerness to learn and taking the time to truly understand all aspects of an event will enhance your prospects of promotion.
High quality Event Coordinators and Production Coordinators are sought after in all areas of the events industry. In particular, meetings and conferences, trade shows and exhibitions and corporate events offer great opportunities.
Career Accelerators are highly motivated, mid-career specialists on their way to the top. They have 3-5 years’ work experience and can demonstrate a range of skills and knowledge. Employers look for a reputable events education qualification, a record of additional professional development training and a solid work history.
Event Manager, Production Manager, Event Designer or Associate Producer roles suit the needs and aspirations of Career Accelerators. This is the level where you start to refine and hone your practical and technical knowledge of events through exposure to many event types and styles. Employers want candidates who are both pro-active and re-active to administer and run logistics but, as a rule, not “content”. These roles are required to manage entire, fairly straightforward jobs, including client and supplier stakeholders and budgeting on an intermediate level. You must understand the process of events but may not yet have the vision to truly develop, enhance and deliver a strategic creative brief. So, excellent logistics, planning and execution; solid office and IT skills are the go. Candidates for these roles can liaise with clients but may not be able to adeptly guide or advise the client at the highest and most complex levels and may not be experts at client presentations or pitches. You will, however, need to be resourceful and smart to keep your job once you’ve found it!
This is the cream of the crop. Generally, these people have arrived at a specialisation and are in high demand across most sectors with business, cultural and corporate events providing excellent opportunities. These roles can include Event Producer, Senior Event Manager, Executive Producer and Technical Director.
I will have more to say about Career Experts in a later post.
In this post I have provided a broad overview of events industry roles. The common features in all these roles is the need for candidates to have a high quality events industry qualification and demonstrated practical experience in events. College of Event Management provides both these pre-requisites for employment. Our courses are widely respected in the industry, you will gain hours of practical experience working on events and, importantly, you will receive countless opportunities to build your network of contacts. Find out more on our website.
In the end, it is both what you know and who you know that makes the difference. One of those 16,000 jobs is yours.