AEO - Association of event organisers

Say hello to the AEO salary survey. And stop saying goodbye to great talent


Say hello to the AEO salary survey. And stop saying goodbye to great talent


Imagine a thief in the night snuck in and made off with the awards from your office display cabinet.

Would you still be the same noteworthy company?

Of course you would.

But what if another employer made off with the talented people who helped win those awards?


It could happen and it does.

While looking attractive to new recruits is important, a strong retention strategy is one that should never be overlooked. After all, you know that the most valuable assets of your company are not the trophies on display but the hard-working folks, who bring them to the cabinet. 

Every year the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) conducts a salary survey which gives its members an opportunity to benchmark earnings and benefits against other organisers in the industry.

The 2019 AEO salary survey revealed that 93% of its participants had no intention of throwing the towel in on events over the next five years.

While this is fantastic news for the industry, this isn’t necessarily an indicator of loyalty to any one company.

In fact, the research showed that more than half of the participants expected to move on to a new company within three years.

The case for retention

Whether you’ve been in the interviewee or interviewer seat before, you’ll know that “how long have you been with the company?” is a popular question to ask or be asked. It’s an indicator of company culture and happy staff.

People jumping ships is knowledge lost, the relationships they built, need to be picked up or sometimes even reset. It also means finding time to invest in training new staff once again. Lower staff turnover, therefore, equals higher productivity.

What’s more, there’s the impact on the bottom line to consider. If you use a recruitment agency, you’ll appreciate that it’s not small change.

So what should organisers do to retain their staff?

Think of employees as customers. Your company would run research on your customers to understand what makes them tick, keeps them happy and most importantly keeps them loyal.

Employees are no different. They are buying into the brand of the company and the package their employers are offering.

It is therefore completely logical to understand how your company is faring against your competition.

Enter the AEO salary survey

The survey is run annually and is an opportunity for your company to position itself in the industry as one of the most competitive places to work and remain.

The more participants this research attracts, the more accurately the AEO will be able to reflect the market. 

The benefit of taking part

Participating members receive exclusive access to confidential and aggregated findings. This gives them insights on whether staff are being paid fairly, how their packages contrast with other sectors, how their salary brackets for the next step up fares against their key competitors and more. 

If your company is armed with this knowledge and shapes its package competitively,  your best talent will find themselves asking if it really is possible for the grass to be greener on the other side. Maybe just maybe, you’ll be doing away with those goodbyes – at least for a little longer.

The survey in more detail…

The 2019 salary survey drills into pay and benefits across a variety of different roles and levels within a business and is categorised by sales, marketing, operations, event/conference managers and managing directors.

It saw participation from a third of members, some of which took part in a new phase of the survey, designed to understand which benefits motivated and were most valued by events professionals.

The next AEO salary survey will be launched to members in May 2020.

  • "Broadway Events joined the AEO on the Enterprise Membership. We’ve already taken advantage of the many benefits including the excellent FaceTime Masterclasses and training guides for exhibitors."
    Emma Barrett
    Broadway Events
  • "We are a member of the AEO because it is a proactive association for the events industry. As an organiser it provides us with high value ideas, networking, guidance and information."
    David Harrison
    PPMA Group
  • "This year, the association has led working groups to address industry issues and put on some amazing events full of insightful content for both organisers and, through the AEOs FaceTime initiative, exhibitors. In addition, the AEO has represented the industry at a Governmental level to raise awareness of the importance of events to the UK economy."
    Paul Byrom
    Upper Street Events
  • "I genuinely believe that if you’re involved in organising events you should become a member of the AEO."
    Simon Kimble
    Clarion Events
  • "Our membership of the AEO represents real and tangible value for UBM - it provides fantastic networking opportunities, practical training for our team as well as valuable insight into the state of our industry."
    Simon Parker
    Informa Markets
  • "As an Association business, we appreciate the excellent work the secretariat of the AEO do for our community. From the events side of our business, the AEO provides an excellent return on investment, providing thought leadership, fantastic networking, brilliant awards, excellent research and FaceTime, a valuable tool to tell our markets why exhibitions and events should be an essential part of the marketing mix."
    Neil Felton
  • "AEO’s networking and member meetings are valuable for individuals at all levels within our organisation. The promotion of our sector to the outside world, to government, authorities and business at large is another vital aspect of the AEO’s purpose for members, many of whom, like my company, work on events throughout the world."
    Stephen Brooks
    Mack Brooks Exhibitions
  • “Knowledge is power and the AEO dinners are certainly powerful, there is always a wealth of knowledge at the table. Insightful presentations make for a constructive and extremely social way to learn from the experts who’ve done it before. I attended the Japanese evening and gained really valuable insight about the culture and how best to communicate with a local audience.”
    John Whitaker
    Vice President Marketing, Data & Digital , dmg events
  • "We have the opportunity to contribute positively to the industry as well as gaining valuable insight and advice. There’s no need to spend valuable time and money reinventing the wheel when you have so many experienced professionals in AEO membership to learn from”
    Emma Cartmell
    CHS Group
  • "JOINING THE AEO HAS BEEN FANTASTIC! Being able to gift our customers with free places at the FaceTime masterclasses, learn alongside industry peers and seek advice to common challenges is invaluable”
    Sharon Azam
    GovNet Communications
  • I just wanted to send my most sincere thanks for everything that you and the AEO team are doing to help navigate the events industry through the pandemic. The working groups and communication from the AEO have been excellent and I’m really appreciative of being part of such a wonderful organisation.
    Simon Burns
    ICHF Events
  • I think what the AEO has been doing during this tough time has been exceptional.
    Greg Cherry
    QD Events LTD
  • It is so useful to hear from your peers at this time. Please pass my thanks to Ruth and the BTIG panel
    Dan Assor
    CloserStill Media
  • Just wanted to thank you and Ruth this morning for the Zoom meeting - it was really interesting to hear how things are moving along in the virtual/hybrid meeting/exhibitions. All very new to me, so a lot to digest.
    Maureen Wright
    Optic UK
  • The session this morning was fantastic. We are right in the midst of this and the information was so useful. We can apply it immediately
    Claire Adams
  • The AEO provides an opportunity to make a difference, to work with other companies for the good of the industry as a whole, but beyond that, it provides it’s members with valuable insight and tangible benefits to grow your business, upskill and engage your teams. For those reasons, our membership is in indelible ink on the each annual budget. In short, if you aren’t a member, you are missing out.
    Ed Tranter
    73 Media




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