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Measuring up

Measuring up

To support the launch of the Annual Event Industry Salary Survey, Jill Hawkins, director, Aniseed PR Limited, explores the current working landscape.

As our industry rebuilds, Mash Media and EventHub.Jobs felt it was vital to accurately assess current salaries, benefits and ways of working, to see how they may change in the future.

“As the events industry is not accurately measured by the Office for National Statistics, there’s a distinct lack of data from which we can build a precise picture,” comments Martin Fullard, editorial director of Mash Media. “That is why we must survey and assess our community regularly.”

Therefore, both organisations have decided to launch the Annual Event Industry Salary Survey. It has been created to collect this data over the coming months, with the results to be published later this year.

The lay of the land

To help launch the survey this month, I asked industry employers to share their experience of how things have changed.

“Sadly, many talented eventprofs were unable to work for up to two years so they left the industry and found other employment. Enticing them back now is of course a challenge but one we are confident will be overcome,” says Mary Carter-Lee, people and culture director at Identity.

On the other hand, emc3 has been successful in enticing some of its freelancers to become permanent staff. Georgie Simon, operations manager, says: “We are also working hard on the marketing strategy behind our job posts and how to really get the ethos of the company across."

“The emotional intelligence side of a role is really important to people now,” agrees Robert Kenward, industry recruiter and founder of EventHub.Jobs. “Personally, I think it always has been, but now people are more confident to raise their opinions.”

The Venues Collection is finding that training is also very important. “We do a lot of work with apprenticeship schemes – offering them to new starters and also to our existing teams to help with their career advancements,” says MD Joanne Barratt.

The role of salaries

Salaries also must be considered. “Salaries are at an all-time high of which businesses recovering from the lack of event specific support throughout the pandemic are now struggling to afford and sustain,” comments Dale Parmenter, CEO of DRPG. “There’s also a huge gap between candidate experience and their earning expectation. This is largely inflated by supply and demand; all solely focused event companies have re-opened at the same time, they are all competing for the same talent.”

Barratt thinks that salaries will have to rise by 10 to 12%. “Everyone is talking about inflation and the impact this is going to have on the cost of living which in turn impacts on salaries.”

Kirsty Finding, talent director at TRO, thinks that salaries will plateau over the next 12-18 months. “It isn’t sustainable to continuously increase salaries without our client budgets increasing too.”

Will Grashoff, industry recruiter at You Exclusive agrees. “We have seen significant and justified, in my opinion, rises across the board on salaries in the last 12 months, but I think we’ve now hit a bit of a ceiling where companies will struggle to sacrifice any more margin to keep increasing the labour costs – without significantly increasing their own prices.”

What eventprofs want

While remuneration is important, the next generation of talent is also very ambitious. “They want prospects, career defining opportunities as well as flexible working and great environments to work in,” says Carter-Lee.

“Agencies that lead by example with regard to diversity, sustainability and social values are key magnets to this generation of eventprofs. There has been a significant shift toward candidates asking about health and wellbeing initiatives over the last year.”

Salary and agile working are by far the most prominent wants according to Parmenter. “Due to cost-of-living increases and experience of flexibility over the last two to three years, seeking to achieve a better work-life balance which is paid well is definitely the focus.” Grashoff says that candidates want flexibility. “The first question they ask is now ‘do they offer work from home? Rather than ‘tell me about the company’.”

“We are a fully remote team now with the UK team meeting in the office one day a week and this is not set to change,” says Simon.

“In addition, candidates seem to be very keen to learn about our amazing culture and also life work balance and how we protect it.”

TRO finds that candidates are most interested in its hybrid working due to the work/life balance. “They also like our learning and development opportunities, strong company culture, and our corporate social responsibility and commitment for a better future for all. I don’t see this changing much over the next 12-18 months,” says Finding.

Next steps

How do employers need to evolve to accommodate this shift? “We have to stop being
so fixed and traditional in our approach; the world has changed and as an industry we need to ensure that we are an attractive and appealing environment for people looking to forge a rewarding career,” says Barratt.

Kenward agrees. “Employers need to reframe their offer and to promote what they can offer the candidate. The salary survey will ensure that employers and job seekers alike will be able to evolve, knowing how their salaries, benefits and working arrangements compare with the wider industry.”

“This salary survey will be another critical piece of work which will shine a light on how our industry compares, giving both employers and employees a better understanding of the current landscape,” concludes Fullard. 

To complete the survey, click here.