Salaries, hiring, work/life balance and sustainability are some of the trending topics covered in Global DMC Partners’ recently-released report on its Q2 Meetings & Events Pulse Survey.
The survey, which was in the field from May 31 to June 30, 2022, was completed by 237 meeting and event professionals, the majority of whom are U.S.-based. Respondents were primarily full-time employees (85 percent), and 97 percent hold a mid-level role or higher. Respondents were third-party/independent planners (48 percent), followed by corporate/direct planners (44 percent) and a small percentage of association planners (eight percent).
Key insights from the survey results include:
- Meeting and event planner salaries are higher in the U.S. and Canada than elsewhere in the world.
- Companies are reporting more open positions and fewer candidates.
- Working from home helps planners achieve a good work/life balance.
- Sustainability is a higher focus for organizations outside of the United States.
- High costs are affecting program budgets and travel.
Salaries and Bonuses
Salaries were analyzed based on the respondents’ reported role level, with most in entry-level positions having an annual salary of less than US$50,000. Most respondents who have a mid-level or senior-level position have a salary between $75,000 and $99,000. However, senior-level, leadership/management, and owner/founder respondents report a variety of ranges in salary.
Fifty-five percent of total respondents reported being eligible for financial bonuses, with the majority of each level reporting that they are eligible for a bonus.
While more than a quarter of respondents were not comfortable sharing their salaries, there was a difference in reported salaries when reviewing the U.S./Canada versus the international respondent pool. Of the international respondents, 42 percent reported annual salaries under $50,000 versus only four percent of the US/Canada respondents. Nearly half of U.S./Canada respondents reported having salaries between $75,000 and $124,000, while over half of international respondents reported having salaries $74,000 or less.
Sixty-five percent of the survey respondents said their organizations are hiring or recently hired with more international respondents (75 percent) reporting that they are hiring, as compared to 61 percent of U.S./Canada respondents. More international respondents (69 percent are hiring for entry-level positions, while more U.S./Canada respondents (69 percent) are hiring for mid-level positions. Most organizations (82 percent) are hiring for salary-based roles and the majority (71 percent) of organizations offer roles that allow candidates to work from home either full-time or part-time (hybrid).
Many organizations have also had to increase their compensation packages to attract the right candidates, especially internationally. Forty-five percent of international respondents reported having to increase their compensation packages as compared to 30 percent of the U.S./Canadian respondents. On average, most respondents report that it takes between one and three months to fill an open position, with 17 percent reporting that it takes longer than three months. Forty percent of respondents have found success in hiring candidates from other industries.
As face-to-face events and meetings are making a comeback, on-site event management is the most desired skill for new hires (75 percent), with event technology and registration platform knowledge (61 percent), customer service (57 percent), budget management (57 percent), vendor management (46 percent) and contract negotiation/compliance (44 percent) falling close behind.
The majority (79 percent) of the survey respondents report being satisfied with their overall work/life balance. U.S./Canadian respondents report that they are slightly less satisfied with their work/life balance with 77 percent reporting they are satisfied as compared to 86 percent of international respondents. Having the option to work from home is the number one reported factor that contributes to a good sense of work/life balance.
“While we do see some improvements in the quality of work/life balance, we notice more and more that it is sliding back very quickly due to the fast-paced demand for in-person events,” said Catherine Chaulet, president and CEO, Global DMC Partners. “More than ever, planners’ roles as masters of all trades – negotiators, HR team builders, and creative gurus – are tested.”
Overall, the international response to incorporating sustainability is more positive than their U.S./Canadian counterparts. Forty-five percent of international respondents report that their clients or companies have sustainability goals in place for travel, meetings, events or incentives as compared to only 31 percent of U.S./Canadian respondents. Sixty percent of international respondents report that sustainability goals are a driving factor in choosing a destination for programs versus 25 percent of U.S./Canadian respondents. The majority of all respondents do not require that vendors or suppliers have a sustainability certification, but 32 percent of international respondents and 11 percent of U.S./Canadian respondents do.
Of those who report having sustainability goals in place at their organization, 91 percent report that reducing plastic usage and waste is part of their sustainability goals, 70 percent report including locally-sourced food options, and 54 percent report that carbon tracking and offsetting are part of their sustainability goals.
Budgets & Costs: What’s Driving Decisions Right Now
It is clear from the survey data that meeting and incentive budgets are not likely to decrease for the vast majority of organizations and their clients. Most respondents say their budgets for meetings have increased from 2021 to 2022 (52 percent) and are increasing from 2022 to 2023 (41 percent). While not as many planners report their incentive budgets increasing, 86 percent say they are either staying the same or increasing from 2021 to 2022 and 59 percent report the same from 2022 to 2023. Nearly 70 percent report that budgets are increasing due to inflation.
In addition, rising airfare costs are affecting the chosen destinations for the majority of planners (60 percent), and some noted that their organizations or clients are choosing locations based on where the majority of their attendees are located, or locations that are closer and/or less expensive to help offset the rise in airfare costs. Likely to offset cost increases, 47 percent are reporting that their organizations are increasing their pricing for services and/or events, with the majority of those being U.S. or Canada-based.
The full results of GDP’s Meetings & Events Pulse Survey are available at https://bit.ly/GDPSurveyQ222