Self-employment is common for event managers, so you can work for a number of employers and choose to specialize in different types of events.
What does an event handler do? | Typical employers | Diploma and training | Core skills
Event managers, also known as event managers, are responsible for planning, promoting, and ensuring the smooth running of a program of events and individual events. These can range from a wedding to a virtual conference.
There is often a lot of overlap between the work of an event team and a marketing team. Promoting an event and an employer brand is essential to ensure that people show up and that future business comes out. If that doesn’t happen, all the employer sees is the cost to the business in terms of money and time, no matter how hard you put into hosting the event of the year. .
However, there is a more practical aspect of “rolling up your sleeves” to events that is not as common in marketing. As you progress into the role of manager, and sometimes as a manager, you will often be one of the first people to arrive at an event and one of the last to leave. You will talk to attendees, make sure they have everything they expect (e.g. food or drink), and could spend some time setting up booths or sorting seats.
The typical responsibilities of an event manager are as follows:
- recruit and manage employees working on events – these may work short-term during peak periods or be full-time staff members
- performing administrative tasks such as booking hotels for those working on events and producing spreadsheets (e.g. number of expected attendees)
- set clear goals and targets for events, as well as plans to achieve them
- help promote events and liaise with clients
- collect feedback and data after an event (for example, on your employer’s website attendance or registrations) and use it to inform future decisions / plans
- come up with new and innovative ideas – both for events and event promotion
- work within a budget for events and manage expenses accordingly
- problem solving and welcoming at an event.
While you’re more likely to associate this role with more glamorous events such as large conferences, in reality the event industry is quite diverse. You could plan fine dining and chic entertainment in a chic hotel. Alternatively, if you work for a charity, you could make sure that the flyers handed out and the staff working at fundraising events are both persuasive and knowledgeable.
You could work for:
- an event venue
- an event consulting firm
- A charity
- a hotel, pub or restaurant
- a conference or exhibition center
- A festival
- an educational institution.
Self-employment is common for event managers, so you can work for a number of employers and choose to specialize in different types of events. You might also be involved in a mix of events by working for a company that specializes in managing events for various clients.
A degree in event management can be a useful way to show employers your enthusiasm for the industry and build your knowledge and network when you are starting out, but it’s not essential. You could enter this career with a degree in any subject; in fact, if you are moving up the ranks (eg from an administrative position for an events company), you will not necessarily need a degree.
What you will need is experience. If you are studying for a degree in events management, you can start to gain this experience by choosing one with a year of internship and organizing events for an academic company, for example.
It is likely that you will need to have spent between four and six years working in events before becoming an event manager, as this should give you a solid foundation of industry-related skills and knowledge. There are many options when it comes to roles you could take on as you gain more experience. Spending time working as an assistant event manager before moving on to manager would give you a good overview, but it’s not crucial.
Some employers will be particularly impressed with candidates with certain specific skills, often related to promoting events, such as photography or social media proficiency. As more and more events are hosted online, it is also increasingly likely that computer literacy will be an important focus.
Typical skills required for this industry are:
- The ability to manage multiple events and people simultaneously
- Time management
- Problem solving
- Creative thinking
- Resilience under pressure
- Computer knowledge
- The ability to reflect and consider ways to improve.