The majority of event professionals are back to being employed full-time and the majority of companies are currently hiring, according to the results of Global DMC Partners‘ latest Meetings & Events Pulse Survey on staffing and hiring. (DOWNLOAD HERE.)
Conducted in Q1 2022, the survey polled 107 respondents from the meetings and events industry. Of these, 70 percent were planners with the remaining respondents representing vendors or suppliers. Forty percent of the respondents were from North America and 45 percent from Europe. Participants were primarily third-party/independent planners (approximately 66 percent), with the remainder working in sectors such as finance, pharma, insurance and associations.
Catherine Chaulet, president and CEO of Global DMC Partners, shared insights and data from the survey responses, including these highlights:
- As compared to Q1 2021, most event professionals are back to being employed full-time, with 30 percent more responding that they are now employed full-time. No respondents reported that they are currently looking for employment or furloughed, so the candidate market has become more limited.
- 61 percent of companies are currently hiring, will be hiring in 2022, or have recently made new hires. Of the companies who are hiring, the majority are hiring for senior and junior planners or entry-level event coordinators. With the majority (83 percent) of companies relying on personal or word-of-mouth referrals for candidates, it takes most of them less than three months to hire.
- Companies are looking for candidates with sophisticated skill sets in an ever-changing environment where candidates must now be comfortable managing events in different formats—in-person, hybrid and virtual—and accustomed to working in a dynamic environment where the event format is fluid and could change at any minute. Respondents cited that important skillsets for more senior-level positions include strategic and creative thinking, understanding of financial models, working autonomously, and managing complex projects.
Deeper dive into results
Event professionals back to work – Employment status
Seventy-two (72) percent of respondents are employed full-time now, compared to the same time last year (Q1 2021), when only 42 percent of respondents reported being employed full-time, and 26 percent reported that their hours were reduced as compared to only nine percent of current respondents.
No respondents reported that they are currently furloughed or looking for employment unless they are a freelancer or self-employed.
Are companies hiring in the events/planning department?
Sixty-one (61) percent of companies are currently hiring, will be hiring this year, or have recently made new hires. Thirty-six (36) percent report not hiring at the moment.
“Through our most recent survey, we were able to determine for which roles companies are primarily hiring,” said Chaulet. “It appears that the majority are hiring for different levels of meeting/event planning roles, and are focused on candidates’ proficiencies and agility rather than just their experience. Some respondents commented that departmental reorganization created new roles, and/or shifting to virtual created new roles. We hope this is a positive trend for the industry.”
Event experience required
While the majority of planners are interested in applicants with in-person event experience or a mix of in-person, virtual and hybrid experience, none of the respondents indicated that they are focused on finding applicants that have virtual event experience exclusively.
Interestingly, although many companies became accustomed to their staff working from home during the height of the pandemic, the majority (51 percent) of open roles in the MICE industry are hiring staff that must live in a specific location. Eighteen percent of respondents did report that it depends on the role, as they were hiring both for location-specific and remote positions. While it is taking less than a month for most respondents, the majority (nearly 70 percent) have been successful with hiring for an open role in less than three months.
Payment & Benefits
The vast majority of open positions (77 percent) in the MICE industry are salary-based roles and the most popular benefits being offered to event professionals are paid time-off and healthcare. Benefits revolving around flexibility, such as the option to work remote and flexible working hours, are also popular. Some respondents noted that their companies are not able to offer many of the outlined benefits because funds were allocated towards retaining employees throughout the pandemic.
Attracting high-quality candidates
When asked what is now necessary in order to attract the right candidates, most (48 percent) have not had to increase salaries or compensation packages, but about a third of respondents have had to increase them to attract the right candidates. One comment cited “80K is the new 50K it seems,” while others commented that it depends on how senior the role is, meaning that the more senior positions do require an increase and the more entry-level roles do not require an increase.
Referrals and social media are the most popular ways of recruiting new talent, and one respondent commented that their company teams up with local universities’ hospitality schools to attract current and new college graduates to the industry. Nearly 64 percent reported that LinkedIn and other social media postings were most successful, and over 42 percent responded that the most popular form is using an internal recruiter/HR department/company website. When asked if recruitment methods have been successful thus far, 72 percent responded positively, with 21 percent saying they weren’t sure since they were just starting the hiring process.