Stereotypes are incredibly frustrating for people in any profession, but the role of the event organiser is one particularly prone to ignorant assumptions.
People think you spend your day swanning around, food tasting, lounging in luxury hotels and hobnobbing with celebrities – if only!
Here are 5 common myths about being an event organiser that simply aren’t true…
- Anyone can be an event organiser
This has to be the number one assumption made by the general public, that event planning isn’t a ‘real job’ or that anyone can do it.
Event planning requires a particular skill set that spans from innate creativity and vision, through to accounting and people management. A large proportion of event professionals have completed event management degrees, as well as extensive work experience before they even enter the industry. A number of organisers go on to take further qualifications, such as the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP).
In fact, event planning as a sector is becoming increasingly professionalised, with the launch of the Institute of Event Management (IEM) last year. The IEM is working to develop National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the industry in collaboration with People 1st, the sector skills council.
So, the next time someone says to you “that’s not that a real job!” tell them that the 515,000 professionals working in the UK meetings and events sector would most likely disagree!
Related: How to get your dream job in events
- Event planning is always fun, fun, fun!
Of course, the events industry is a wonderful one to work in, but it’s certainly not without its challenges. A study by US job search site CareerCast concluded that being an event planner is actually among the most stressful jobs in the world!
Tight deadlines and scrutiny from the public make organising meetings almost as pressurised as being a military general – sometimes you might feel like one! The stress that comes with event planning is also similarly comparable to fire fighting and flying a commercial aeroplane.
A further study conducted for National Meetings Week found that more than 80% of UK event organisers have suffered from work related stress. However, the research also showed that 87% were highly satisfied with their jobs and 90% would recommend it as a career to a school leaver – so it’s not all bad!
- Event organisers work part-time
Although event organisers don’t work nine to five, they certainly put the hours in! The British Meetings & Events Industry Survey found that conference and event organisers work up to 17 hours a day during busy periods and some have worked 72 hours without sleep during events (not an approach we’d recommend for anyone.)
Even if your job takes you to an exotic locale with a group of delegates, you won’t find much time to kick back and relax. While they enjoy exciting activities and indulgent meals, you’ll be on the phone and responding to emails. An event organiser’s work is never done!
- Event planning is glamorous and well paid
While event planning can be both of those things, most event organisers work hard for an average salary. New research carried out by event sponsorship platform SponsorMyEvent has shown UK event planners earn on average £22,713 annually, while event directors are earning on average £45,742 (these figures are significantly higher in London).
That said, the profession does offer the opportunity to travel and meet interesting people so it’s understandable why those in a non-inspiring desk job might be envious!
- Event planners are frivolous
Event planners get a bad rep from depictions in Hollywood movies where they are seen telling clients that they “must have this” and “must have that”. In reality, event organisers work to obtain maximum value from a budget; negotiating and streamlining every little detail. Because of their knowledge and connections, professional event organisers can usually stage an event for less than the client could independently.
What’s more, event organisers are increasingly having to do more with less. Although 55% of EU planners reported a small 1.7% increase in budgets for 2015, the rise is counteracted by blanket rises for goods and services. According to Meeting Professionals International’s Meetings Outlook report, the cost of air travel, catering, audiovisual services and meeting room hire are all on the rise. Far from frivolous – a good event planner has a tight grasp on the purse strings!
Our own event industry Pulse Report also showed that, while budgets are rising for 24% of organisers, the majority (66%) are planning to maintaining their current level of spending – despite 66% of all organisers expecting growth from their events – meaning they’ll need to find efficiencies to achieve more from essentially the same amount of resources.
Event organisers are some of the hardest working, efficient and skilled people on the planet. While the job can be glamorous, well-paid and fun much of it is grounded in an amazing work ethic, meticulous planning, creative flair and commercial acumen.
So should you hear any of the above popular myths being uttered, refer them to this blog for a reality check!