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Northern Talent

Charlotte Gentry, CEO of Pure Events and EVCOM chair, asks if there is a North-South divide when it comes to acquiring talent

I was speaking to a fellow EVCOM board member the other day who works for Ashfield Meetings and Events, and we were discussing how tricky it is to recruit excellent operational staff in the North of the UK. Once you have found them, retaining them is quite hard, should they become tempted South to the bright lights of London.

There are some truly vibrant cities in the North of the UK, in fact Hull and Coventry have both been (or are to be) UK City of Culture, and there are some incredible venues in cities such as Newcastle, Edinburgh and Manchester. So this should entice many budding event enthusiasts to choose a career in the MICE sector.

I have, in fact, lectured more than once at Sheffield Hallam University to students studying Event Management all of whom were keen to pursue their career in this sector, however, even from talking to them in workshops post the plenary session, it was clear that over 70% of them were anticipating heading South to start their career journey.

Agencies such as First Event, Ashfield Meetings and Events and DRPG all have offices in the North or Midlands, so surely there is a need for great talent in this area.

Once you find the talent, is the level of experience and creative nous as strong North of the Watford Gap as it is in London? Are the expectations of events and service in cities such as York, Leeds, Hull and Newcastle as high as they are in London? I’m not pre-supposing an answer, but am just asking the question.