Does your company have a training scheme? A staggering 64% of
respondents to the 2001 Marketing Event salary and lifestyle survey said
the company they worked for had no form of in-house training. In an
industry where training and recruitment is top of the agenda, this is a
The survey, which was carried out with sponsor ESP Recruitment and
Digitab, also revealed that more people are joining and enjoying the
flexibility of different careers within the events and exhibitions
industry as a result of better job-related qualifications and the
introduction of event management degrees at some universities.
A lack of appraisal
In last year's survey, respondents cited changing career to join or move
within the event industry, as the third most popular reason for leaving
their last job. This year it was the second most popular reason with 21%
of respondents leaving their last job to work in events, exhibitions or
conferences. However, it must be of some concern that one quarter of
respondents to our survey still have no formal appraisal within the
"I don't believe in formal appraisals and think companies should be
talking to their staff continually so I'm not concerned by this
finding," says Association of Exhibition Organisers director-general
Trevor Foley. "The more worrying trend is the lack of in-house training
as this is often more important to people than salary."
ESP Recruitment director Liz Sinclair partially agrees. "Companies
should be continually talking to staff, but in the events industry this
isn't always feasible ," says Sinclair. "People spend a lot of time out
of the office at events, on site visits and seeing clients. If companies
want to keep their staff, I believe there should be at least one formal
appraisal a year, where employers and employees set aside time to have a
two-way conversation, discussing performance as well as the employee's
future career path."
Almost two-thirds (62%) of respondents to the 2001 Marketing Event
salary and lifestyle survey were female, while 38% were male. The women
predominantly work in corporate in-house events teams - 73% of female
respondents were from this sector. The exhibition industry is still
male-dominated however and 31% of male respondents work in an exhibition
capacity. In-house event teams only comprised 17% of the total male
Driven towards rewards
According to the results, this trend has hardly changed over the past
five years. Women have traditionally gone into event organising and
marketing areas whereas men have been driven towards the business
development and financial rewards offered by exhibition sales and
"Women have always been attracted to event work because it is viewed as
the more glamorous side of the industry," says Spectrum Recruitment
event consultant Lesley Duguid. "They aspire to work in-house for large
corporate companies because the money is better and it's considered an
"I'd say about 80% of our candidates are female and the men who approach
us are more interested in production and sales. I've been surprised
therefore that the graduates coming out of this year's specialist
courses are split 50/50 between male and female."
The introduction of these courses together with a higher standard of
education obtained before entering the industry looks likely to result
in a shift in this sort of stereotyping.
"Event management degrees give the pupils a better chance of getting the
graduate jobs," says Sinclair. "Rather than having to start in
administration, they are going straight into a hands-on events role from
Climbing the ladder
The high male take-up on these courses seems to be providing men with an
interest in the organisation of event management and the better
qualified women are fighting harder to climb the ladder and fill senior
roles in exhibitions that are traditionally held by men.
"It depends on the show but we are starting to find it easier to place
more women in more senior positions within exhibition organisers," says
Dragon Fly recruitment director Bill Pretty.
ESP's Sinclair notes that in many companies the roles of sales and
logistics are being combined to benefit the client.
"Candidates are leaving jobs with broader skills and greater opportunity
to choose whether they want to go down the sales or logistics path in
their next role," she says. "More women are now working in exhibition
sales, marketing and logistics. The exhibition services sector has
always been very male-dominated however and this shows little sign of
Two further trends highlighted by the survey include more overseas
events and an increase in Internet use. About 10% of all Internet
traffic is thought to be job-related and an increase in web literacy has
seen more virtual shows and more company web sites offering extended
In last year's survey, in answer to the question 'Are you personally
involved in organising events overseas?' 56% said no and 43% said
This year, 53% said they were involved in overseas events.
"This is a very valid trend, as clients often require potential
employees to have excellent overseas destination knowledge, experience
of organising overseas events and sometimes even a European language,"
Regarding the all-important issue of pay, next month's Live Issue will
provide a breakdown of average earnings so you can see if you are being
paid what you are worth.
"Certain industries are booming at the moment, such as the
pharmaceutical industry," says Sinclair. "Event management companies
will pay more for staff with experience of these types of events and
understanding of the clients. Similarly, the financial institutions
prefer candidates with experience of financial events and thus will pay
a premium for staff."
If you can't wait until next month, the results of the 2001 Marketing
Event salary survey will also be published at the Career Pavilion, also
sponsored by ESP Recruitment at the National Venue Show at the NEC on
Laura Moody, marketing manager, Nomadic Display
Just as there are no hard and fast rules for the career paths of women
in general, the same is true for women working within the exhibiting
Looking across the gender balance at Nomadic, it is exactly 50% male and
50% female. Women do occupy some senior positions in Nomadic's
management team including myself, marketing manager Anna Davies and
sales director Louise Everett. Our worldwide president, Patricia Goeke,
is also female.
At this point in time, Nomadic is a predominantly female-led company,
but the predominance of senior female figures in Nomadic UK has not been
through any affirmative action policies, it is simply the result of hard
work from individuals who have worked their way up through the
Specific departments show some gender variation. Business development at
Nomadic is predominantly female-led as is Nomadic's sales team - more
than two-thirds of consultants are women and the department is headed by
a female sales director. Sales roles at Nomadic tend to be very
consultative, creative and demand highly developed organisational
skills. Some might say these attributes are stronger in women.
As with many UK companies government legislation has meant the
exhibition industry is beginning to respond to the needs of women in the
workplace. This is not specific to the exhibition industry.
Production, by contrast, seems to be a male-led area at Nomadic and
across the rest of the industry. This may be down to the technical level
of the role.
Male presence may also be stronger in custom-build exhibition companies
as custom-build and modular display systems differ - custom-build is
physically more demanding; a difference between "building" and
"dressing" if you like.
It is also clear from being on-site in a number of exhibition halls that
construction teams, whether they work for a custom house or the
exhibition organiser, are very male-oriented environments.