Analysis: Pioneers in the world of work

Claire Bond meets the team at Regan & Dean, which 10 years ago set up one of the first event recruitment businesses.

Judging by the number of event companies celebrating their 10th anniversaries this year, the final decade of the 20th century signalled an intense period of growth in the industry. Such an expansion affected more than just organisers and agencies.

Recruitment is one area that has reaped the rewards of a buoyant event market. Established 20 years ago, Regan & Dean sources candidates for the creative advertising industry and in the late 1990s recognised the demand for a dedicated resource for the live event and exhibitions sector - an emerging industry that had previously languished in the shadows of the mainstream marketing world.

Narelle Lester was brought on board in 1997 to set up the new division.

She is now Regan & Dean's managing director. "Previously there were just two or three recruitment agencies servicing the sector exclusively. But it quickly became clear that the industry was becoming bigger and we wanted to step into that arena. We've grown a team that has a mix of an events background and recruitment skills," she says.

Recruitment itself has undergone significant changes, with a tightening of the laws regarding discrimination issues. But Lester and her team have also witnessed numerous changes to the landscape of the events industry, many of which have contributed to the raised profile of event marketing.

"It has become so much more mainstream," says Gilly Tajasque, of Regan & Dean's events and communications team. "We've seen it becoming recognised and fully integrated as part of the marketing mix. It's really come of age. Once upon a time events were an added extra, but I don't think anyone talks marketing now without including live events."

Aspirational industry

In the wider world, a deeper understanding of what events are has increased notably - as has a desire to become involved.

"People want to get into the industry now - it's aspirational," adds Tajasque. "People who have been in the industry for a while often fell into events. It wasn't that long ago that people didn't even know about it."

The contemporary content of events is also attracting new talent. Tajasque suggests that the sponsorship of mainstream music and cultural outings by large household brands has stirred interest in events as a feasible career path for young people. The 2012 Olympics will also bring the industry to the fore and highlight to a mainstream audience what the UK has to offer.

Within the industry, the past 10 years has seen a significant rise in internal corporate events teams. As the importance of events has increased, more and more corporate companies are employing a dedicated resource to implement strategy. Tajasque says it is becoming less common for the managing director's PA to drive event logistics. Similarly, the overworked marketing executive seems increasingly able to shrug off responsibility for events as internal teams are established.

But it's not all been positive. The tragic events of 11 September will be forever ingrained on people's minds, and the devastating effects on the economy are only just receding as the industry reports a more buoyant mood.

"Things seem to have got back on track," adds Tajasque. "Events are so much in line with the economy because it's obviously quite an expensive thing to do. And it does go hand-in-hand with how the rest of the world is faring."

One thing, however, has not changed. Events continue to revolve around the character and determination of staff. The industry has always been about people and it seems this has never been more relevant.

"In events it's always about attitude and approach. Client and customer expectations are huge now, so I think that there really is more pressure on events people to do a fantastic job. Expectations of professionalism are of higher importance," Tajasque concludes.

Have your say

Only registered users may comment. Sign in now or register for free.

Follow us

Latest Event Jobs