Have you ever dreamt about organising the London Film Festival? Fantasised about putting on a music festival like Glastonbury? Or wondered how you would go about arranging events like the launch of the next PlayStation console? Hmmm, we thought so!
Do you constantly think about the people that decide what shade of red is used for the carpet at the Oscars? Do you wonder who is responsible for organising the annual Clothes Show in Birmingham? Or do you ever spare a thought for the people that put on the business conferences and technology fairs that introduce the world to the latest gizmos and gadgets? Well then, you’re probably thinking about becoming an event organiser!
Event organisers are the people that plan and organise events of various kinds, from industry exhibitions, academic conferences, business seminars and careers fairs, to product launches, gigs, film festivals, fashion shows and charity fundraising events.
Primarily employed by events management companies, event organisers tend to work with a range of clients across the public sector, private sector and third sector. However, some event organisers may work in-house for large multinational corporations, while others work on a freelance basis.
If you enter this profession, you’re likely to take on a vast range of responsibilities to make sure that the events you organise are the best they can possibly be. Your aim will be to organise everything in the most efficient and cost-effective way, while still ensuring that the event has the necessary ‘wow factor’.
Firstly, you’ll be liaising with your client to understand their wants, needs and special requests for the event. Following this consultation period, you’ll be conceptualising, planning and organising events from start to finish in accordance with your client’s requirements.
To make sure everything runs smoothly, you’ll be selecting venues, preparing them for the event and setting everything up. Furthermore, you’ll be managing staff and hiring volunteers, as well as coordinating various suppliers to provide the event with all the necessary bits and pieces, such as security, lighting, displays, sound equipment, stages, parking, toilets, food and drink.
You’ll be in charge of designing the layout and schedule of the event, commissioning companies to produce event guides, tickets and pamphlets and carrying out marketing activities to promote the event with the help of PR professionals and marketing executives.
The budget for the event will also be your responsibility and you’ll be the ‘go-to’ guy or girl if any problems or complications happen on the day. When you’re not actively working on projects, you may also be tasked with carrying out market research, identifying business opportunities and making presentations to clients in order to win new contracts.
Salary & benefits
Annual salaries for event organisers in the early stages of their careers range between £17,000 and £27,000, while event organisers with some experience and a handful of client accounts can earn between £28,000 and £45,000 per annum.
Senior event organisers can earn around £50,000 to £80,000.
The potential earnings are substantially higher for established freelance professionals, who have an extensive events portfolio and a network of useful contacts.
Working hours are entirely dependent upon the type of events that the event organiser handles. The week before an event is usually hectic and you’ll be required to work long and unsociable hours on a daily basis.
Weekend work is also quite common, since most social, charity and entertainment events are scheduled for weekends.
Frequent travel between your office and the location where events are going to be held is a regular requirement.
The job is open to individuals from all educational backgrounds, the main entry requirements being a positive and outgoing personality, outstanding communication skills, attention to detail and a talent for organising complex events in an efficient and methodical manner.
A degree is not essential for entry into this profession. However, this industry is incredibly competitive and, therefore, a degree will help your cause no end.
Getting a degree in a subject such as events management, marketing, or hospitality will also give you a great edge over other candidates.
Training & progression
Training is mainly comprised of work shadowing, working under the supervision of senior colleagues, in-house workshops and external training seminars.
Some employers may even sponsor you to attend courses offered by organisations such as the Society of Event Organisers (SEO), the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) and Eventia.
Competition within the event management industry is fierce and your attitude, commitment and on-the-job performance are the key differentiators between the people selected for promotion and the people left behind.
As you progress, you will move into more senior roles and begin to handle your own events and entire client rosters. Many event organisers move into freelance positions and some even set up their own events management companies.