Graduate Careers Advice

Graduate Events Manager Careers

James Thornhill

Events manager jobs are fast-paced and creative, with staff constantly needing to come up with new ideas and think on their feet. Expect hours to be long and often unsocial, but huge gratification to come when an event that you have spent weeks or months planning comes together successfully.

As an events manager you might work within an organisation, strategising fort and organising in-house events, or you might work for an agency, organising events for clients – including both companies and individuals.

You may be working alone, for example if you have one venue to manage, or you might have a team that includes events assistants, designers and other staff members that you will be responsible for organising.

The role is hugely different depending on the industry that you work in – if you work as an events manager for a local venue, for instance, your job is likely to be centred in this specific location. If you work for an international organisation, however, your job could involve international travel and meeting stakeholders across the globe.

According to Eventbrite in August 2016, the UK events industry is worth £42.3 billion, employs approximately 570,000 people and is responsible for 35% of the UK visitor economy.

With 1.3 million business events attended by 85 million people every year, clearly there is a lot of opportunity for ambitious and driven candidates in this very lucrative industry.

How Much Can I Earn as an Event Manager? 

When starting out in the events industry your salary is likely to be modest, but due to the responsibilities placed upon you and the level of organisation and skill required, as you progress you could see your pay cheque increase quickly.

Average salaries , according to Pay Scale, are:

Events Co-ordinator - £19,600

Events Manager - £25,846

Events Manager salaries vary hugely with experience and depending on the size and sector of the company that you are working in. Entertainment managers are likely to be paid less than those organising events for corporate clients within the finance sector, for example.

Working as an events manager for a large corporate company could include international travel, and could see you earning as much as £60,000.

What Qualifications do I Need to be an Event Manager?

Having a degree in events management would be useful – however, this is not essential. Other degrees that would be useful for a career as an events manager include:

  • Business/management
  • Psychology
  • Marketing
  • Finance

Large companies may ask for a 2.1, but most are much more likely to measure your organisational aptitude and how likely you are to deal well in stressful situations.

You may be able to apply for events-based graduate schemes within large organisations, which will last around two years.

What Skills Do I Need to be an Event Manager?

The ability to plan ahead, to think on your feet and to deal with unexpected situations calmly are the most essentials skills you will need as an events manager. The following skills are also of huge importance:

  • Teamwork
  • Creative flair
  • An eye for detail
  • Resilience
  • Organisation
  • Confidence

Being personable and able to talk to people and build relationships easily is also a very important part of an events manager’s job.

What Experience Do I Need to Get a Job in Event Management?

As with all competitive sectors, if your plan is to work as an events manager work experience is vital to give yourself the best chance of getting a job. Contact companies directly and see if you can come in for work experience or to help out on any events that they are running.

If you do a sandwich year as part of your degree – which you are likely to do if your degree is in the marketing – you should find a job that will last for the duration and will give you a taste of the industry. If you can focus this job towards events, this will be hugely beneficial afterwards.

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