Student Advice - Career Search - Events Manager - Conference Manager
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Events Manager

Events Manager

Tell me about it
Events or conference managers are in charge of the overall organisation of an event, including the venue, the catering, the staffing and the reception arrangements.  They might be employed by a large organisation or company, or by a particular venue, or by a specialist company brought in to do the job. 

The work typically involves such things as researching markets to identify the potential for new events, liaising with clients to ascertain their precise requirements, producing detailed proposals for events, including timelines, venue suggestions and budgets, often to very tight deadlines, securing and booking a suitable venue for the event, and creating a publicity campaign to promote the event.

Entry level
While there are no particular educational qualifications required, increasing numbers of graduates are being employed.  Almost any subject would be acceptable, although you might give particular consideration to courses in hospitality management or leisure and tourism, or to others including elements of business studies, marketing or modern languages.

For entry to a degree course, you would normally need a minimum of two A level or equivalent qualifications, together with five GCSE passes at A*-C or equivalent.  Courses usually last three or four years and many would be described as 'sandwich courses', which means that they incorporate periods of industrial experience.  There are also foundation degree and Higher National Diploma (HND) courses, which are usually a year shorter than corresponding degrees and have slightly lower entry requirements.

Making the grade
There is no single route into events or conference management but many entrants would have experience of working in hotels or restaurants, or perhaps in a managerial position in such areas as personnel (human resources), leisure, marketing or tourism. 

You could also work your way up through the ranks.  Training would usually be carried out on-the-job.  The Association for Conferences and Events runs short courses and can provide lists of companies and venues, together with other useful information.

Personal qualities
You would need the ability to cope with pressure, to work to tight deadlines and to manage budgets.

You must pay meticulous attention to detail, have a strong customer focus, be confident with IT and be able to communicate with a wide variety of people. The ability to persuade others to your point of view would be particularly valuable, and a smart appearance would be important.

Looking ahead
Events and conference management is being seen more and more within the hospitality industry as an important tool for commercial and business success. It is, however, very much at the mercy of the national economic climate.  Competition for the top jobs is intense but the rewards can be substantial.  As a successful manager, you could progress to setting up your own company or go on to a senior managerial position.

Alternative suggestions
Other possibilities might include advertising executive, catering manager, hotel manager, leisure services manager, marketing executive or public relations officer.

Take-home pay

There is a considerable range in earnings, since the type of work involved varies so widely. As a graduate trainee, you might expect to start on a salary of around £18,000 to £25,000, increasing to £27,000 to £40,000 once you gain experience and can demonstrate success. At a more senior level, you might earn £50,000 to £80,000 per annum. You may receive additional income through commission payments.
You would have to be prepared to work long hours, at the weekends and in the evenings, sometimes in order to meet deadlines and sometimes to conduct actual events or conferences.  There would almost certainly be quite a lot of travel involved.

Sources of information
Association for Conferences and Events:

Association of British Professional Conference Organisers:
Business Visits and Events Partnership:





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