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01 Sep 2017

What’s the attraction?

What’s the attraction?

If you’re reading this, you’ve already been bitten by the event industry bug but what about the talent that’s swimming in a different pool or doesn’t yet know which pool to dive into?


Many of our members are already involved in the initiatives we offer to support the career development of their staff and teams. We have Working Groups to provide insight, foster best practice and develop connections; learning events such as the AEO Conference and AEO Forums; and, the awards, for celebrating success, but what, as an industry, are we doing to attract talent that hasn’t dived into our pool yet?


At past industry events, when speakers have asked ‘who chose events as a career choice?’, almost without exception the wonderful world of exhibitions was a happy surprise rather than a conscious choice. So, there’s work to be done and the industry is once again coming together to tackle the challenge.


Last year, we set up the Talent Group to support members in demonstrating that events are an attractive and sustainable career, specifically looking at retention and how we can attract more talent into the industry.


First things first, we need to understand what the attraction is. What do people who already work in the industry love about their jobs and are there character types that are suited to particular roles? Then we can identify the possible routes into the industry for the talent that is likely to be attracted by the career and lifestyle opportunities the events industry currently has to offer. Finally, we can see if there’s anything we may be missing, which would make the events industry stand out head and shoulders above other career options, for positions and skillsets that have been difficult to fill.


Of course, everyone may have a different recruitment need or issue so the Talent Group is looking into what top challenges and gaps need to be addressed first so that plans can be put in place for targeting the right type of candidate. This could be a campaign to promote the opportunities afforded by the sector to career starters such as graduates or business apprentices or to established professionals who may be thinking of switching sector or having a complete career change. Alternatively, it could involve working in partnership with universities to develop their courses to ensure they are relevant and current to the needs of employers.

So, that’s the science bit and the Talent Group is well on the way to setting the initial objectives which will be shared in due course. What we can share now is the Talent Hub on the AEO website. This is where we’ve looked in the mirror to see what people love about the industry and what makes it attractive as a career. The Hub contains video show reels which highlight what it’s like to work in the different functions which make up an event team - specifically event management, marketing, operations and sales roles. There are also infographics on the career progression you can expect to follow and real members’ stories of how they got into the industry, what they love about their role and the type of lifestyle they lead. The Hub also links through to the job page which is one of the most visited pages on the AEO website. 


We’re hoping content within the talent hub will resonate with people considering their new career or indeed a career change! To keep the content fresh, relevant and useful, the Hub will evolve over time in line with the Talent Group’s objectives but could include details on universities/colleges that our members work well with, details from members on ‘try before they buy’ work experience opportunities and much more.


Take a look at and feel free to host the videos or use any of the information on your own jobs pages or reference the resource hub in conversations with recruiters, professional bodies, education establishments etc.


If there are any gaps to fill, let us know and we’ll discuss it at the next Talent Group. In addition, we are encouraging the use of #makeeventswork and #eventsworkforme.


Finally, if you’re a member of AEO, don’t forget you can post your vacancies for free on the jobs page via the Member Zone and let us know of any work experience opportunities – we’re often contacted by individuals looking to get involved.


Chris Skeith, Chief Executive, AEO