June 18, 2024 4:05 AM
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Checking the Pulse of Event Professionals

by Liz Lathan, Club Ichi

 

Two ears, one mouth, that’s what my mother always told me as a kid. “Listen more than you speak.”

This is why we at Club Ichi love crowdsourcing and Spontaneous Think Tanks. It gives us the opportunity to listen to the event professionals in our community and share their challenges, pain points, and obstacles. Here’s what we’re hearing:

Corporate Event Professionals:

While there are rumblings of “more with less” and “less with less,” the reality is that it’s just plain more. The money is tighter, but it’s being used more strategically and in smaller, more frequent programs. Large conferences have become three regional conferences. Quarterly regional events have become a flurry of localized field events. The big 20×20 has become 10x20s with dinners and evening events.

Additionally, everything is media now? Brands are finally catching on that events are content creation machines requiring recording sessions, building onsite podcast studios, and capturing customer testimonials.

But let’s not forget to call out the elephant in the room… layoffs. There are fewer people on staff to execute these events.

Freelancers:

The gig economy is in full swing if you have the connections and know where to look. Some freelancers are out-of-work corporate event professionals just looking to bring in the bucks and pass the time until their next gig. Some have made the shift and are ready for long-term contract roles. If you are looking to supplement your staff but don’t have headcount approval, there’s a treasure trove of talent just waiting for your call.

Small Businesses and Solopreneurs:

The folks running small 1 to 5-person agencies are tired. They are struggling with last-minute requests from clients, desperately sourcing last-minute solutions on their behalf, and running on caffeine and not enough sleep. It’s shaping up to be their best year since early 2020 and they’re cautiously optimistic, while holding on to too much PSTD from scaling to support the big plans they had four years ago.

Bigger Agencies and Suppliers:

Events are back, baybee! It feels good out there!

Big, busy, bold, and quite literally everywhere. There is more work and more volume, even if it comes with just a little less creativity. Clients are not asking for new and different as much right now, instead they are saying: “do what worked last time and get it done faster this time.” Agencies are learning to become content teams and bringing on media strategists to work alongside event and creative strategists.

Take Away

Let’s take a deep dive into the job market. Club Ichi hosted a Job Search Summit in February and had 228 respondents to our research questions, which revealed that among our community of job seekers, 76% of them have more than 10 years’ experience, and in fact 40% have more than 20 years’ experience in the industry. But don’t try to undercut them or force them full-time into an office:
51% are seeking $125k+ in salary and 51% are looking for a remote role (33% are open to hybrid).

Top challenges candidates are experiencing are:

  • Market Saturation: There are many qualified applicants to compete with.
  • Age and Employment Gaps: The 20+ year experience crowd is feeling it, unable to find roles that match their last salary. Many who have been job seeking for 6+ months are having their competence questioned.
  • Seeking Stability out of the Gig Economy: Many people who turned freelance are tired of the work/biz dev hustle and ready for some stability.
  • Remote Work and Flexibility: Almost everyone has adjusted to the new modality of work (in fact, most event people did it long before it was cool).
  • Professional Advancement: Many senior professionals with 10+ years are hoping to move up to Director-level positions.
  • Ghosting or Applying into the Abyss: Many job seekers feel like the application process is futile; hours spend retyping their resume into a tool or going through multiple rounds of interviews only to hear nothing back.

The perspective from our guest speakers at the summit is that they are seeing roles open up as we continue to rebuild the marketing teams and drive pipeline, after a lower couple of quarters that resulted in reducing the marketing workforce last year.

And for the event industry, you know what that means? More.

Are you ready?

  • Superior Logistics

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