Survey: Most event professionals back to full-time

Global DMC Partners has released the results of its Meetings & Events Pulse Survey. Conducted in Q1 2022, the survey polled 107 respondents from the meetings and events industry. Of these, 70% were planners versus vendors or suppliers. The survey had a wide range of respondents, with 40% from North America and 45% from Europe. Participants were primarily third-party/independent planners (approximately 66%), with the remainder working in sectors such as finance, pharma, insurance and associations.

Key insights from the responses:

  • As compared to Q1 2021, most event professionals are back to being employed full-time, with 30% 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% of companies are currently hiring, will be hiring this year 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%) 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.

Employment status
About 72% of respondents are employed full-time now, compared to the same time last year (Q1 2021), when only 42% of respondents reported being employed full-time and 26% reported that their hours were reduced as compared to only 9% of current respondents.

No respondents report 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?
About 61% of companies are currently hiring, will be hiring this year or have recently made new hires. 36% report not hiring at the moment.

“Through our most recent survey, we were able to determine for which roles companies are primarily hiring,” said Catherine Chaulet, president/CEO, Global DMC Partners. “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%) of open roles in the MICE industry are hiring staff that must live in a specific location. A total of 18% 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%) have been successful with hiring for an open role in less than three months. 

Payment & benefits
The vast majority of open positions (77%) in the MICE industry are salary-based roles and the most popular benefits being offered to candidates 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%) 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.

Recruitment methods
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% reported that LinkedIn and other social media postings were most successful, and more than 42% 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, an overwhelming 72% responded positively, with 21% saying they weren’t sure since they were just starting the hiring process.

The full results of GDP’s Meetings & Events Pulse Survey can be found here.