Pursuing a career in Event Management is an excellent option which brings plenty of opportunities for progression. Of course, it is a highly competitive industry, but the breadth of the events industry itself means that there are numerous options for creating a specialism or taking on a new tangent as the industry embraces new and exciting developments, such as digital and communications technologies and social media. So what kind of prospects can you expect from this fast-paced industry… and how can you keep up?
Coming into the events industry at graduate level can mean additional opportunities for coming in at a higher level than an events apprentice and bring the opportunity for a higher starting salary.
At the lowest entry level, starting salaries can be upwards from £15,000 with increased salaries of over £30,000 available depending on the company, the role and the talents and experience you are able to demonstrate. In 2012/13, the average events management graduate salary was just under £18,000 but within two to five years, this successful event professionals can expect a rise to an average salary of approximately £28,000 per year.
Of course, the salaries available vary considerably across the industry sectors, with the private, corporate and commercial sectors generally offering higher salaries than the charity or public sectors. However, for some professionals the rewards sought aren’t necessarily financial – for some, having a role which includes creative control or supports a good cause is preferable to a role which has creative confines or is all about profit for profit’s sake.
Either way, the key tool to accessing the best salary possible in the early stages of an event management career is having a ready portfolio of your experience to date. Any event management training or qualification should include portfolio building and this will actively support you in accessing your first paid role.
Along with financial prospects go the promotional promises that a career in event management holds. Getting that important first role and proving your event expertise could bring plenty of promotional prospects to help you towards accessing those top jobs. This is particularly true of the private sector, where progression is based on success and reputation, to bring commensurate salaries of over £50,000 within 15 years for the most talented and successful event professionals.
Which is all very well to aim for in the future, but apart from building that portfolio, what other steps could you be taking right now, to progress your career in events management?
- Read all about it
If you’ve freshly graduated from your event management qualification, you’ll probably already be well practised in reading about the industry. However, just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean it’s time to stop the reading and research – in fact it can be even more important to continue. Research the continually changing backdrop and read as much as you can from relevant industry sources and publications, both in print and online, to help you keep up to date with what’s happening in this fast-moving industry.
- Write all about it
Become an active part of this industry information network by creating or contributing to an event management blog. Whether it’s your own blog or you’re contributing to someone else’s (for example your company’s by writing up about an event) or you are guest posting for a well-respected industry website, you’ll be elevating your status to that of expert, as well as demonstrating your passion for the role, something which sets you apart from other candidates when it’s promotion time.
- Diversify and discover
Identifying a sector that you want to progress in might be helpful to you in the early stages of breaking into events, but gain as much experience as you can across a variety of sectors and event types prior to this. Doing this early on will enrich your overall experience and give you valuable background in event planning in a variety of disciplines, such as exhibitions, conferences, award ceremonies, weddings. It’s only once you’ve developed a wide and diverse knowledge base that you’ll be able to set your sights on the event sector you want to specialise in and bringing this vast, additional experience to the role of your dreams will help you to progress.
- Take one for the team
Some aspects of event management can be a long, lonely slog, for example if you may have plenty of contacts and vendors, but few actual team colleagues. Create work teams for every project and ensure that you are a main player within those teams. If you are working at assistant level, this means taking some responsibility for an aspect of the organisation or administration of the event and being a pro-active team member as you do so. Becoming the team player that everyone wants on their team is a great way to ensure your contributions are recognised – a cornerstone for a successful career.
- Take one for yourself
Event management can be exhausting. Period. So, even though you may be desperate to get ahead, it won’t be achievable if you’re burned out after two years in your first event role. Establish a good routine (albeit flexible, in relation to events work) and ensure you regularly take time out to concentrate on your holistic wellbeing – body and mind will be working hard 24/7 in events, so it’s important to exercise, unwind and rest when not at work.
- Take one for someone else
Even once you’re in a good role and heading towards your events career goals, organising additional events can also help you to keep building and widening those skills. Stepping outside of the professional role to lend a hand in personal events such as family gatherings, parties or weddings could enrich your work role by allowing you to explore new events experiences without compromising your existing career trajectory.
- Be aware of the basics
Keeping your eye on upcoming trends in the industry doesn’t mean losing sight of those vital, but slightly boring-by-comparison basics which underpin the events industry, such as health, safety and risk management. Continuing to expand your knowledge of these essential aspects will mean you will be able to demonstrate due diligence in all aspects of event management – something which will enhance both your reputation as a competent, efficient event planner and your prospects for heading towards the top roles.
Skills building – make it personal, as well as professional
Continuing to build personal skills is as important as those professional ones if you want to progress up the events industry ladder. Skills such as learning to drive, being a competent user of computers and efficient (and even creative) with social media and communications networks are often forgotten as personal skills, yet these can all have an impact on your professional role and support you in moving forwards.
If you’re now full of events enthusiasm and want to get going, there are several good starting points, such as signing up for an event management qualification and consider volunteering, particularly if you have little experience. Volunteer where possible and go to a broad section of events – institutional, community, local, regional and national, to get a real flavour of the scope of the industry. Being aware of the big events picture will help you to understand the expanse of the sector and the career possibilities – and the endless event management options that await you if you can prove yourself reliable, imaginative and successful. Find out more on eventcourse.
Written by Justine Kane
Justine has spent the past 5 years as Course Director for an event management training Institute, placing hundreds of graduates into roles and tutoring them through to successful qualification.