Recruiting trends and forecasts in the events industry: July to September 2023

Pooja Sharma
7 Min Read

In the rapidly evolving events industry, the recruitment landscape continues to adapt and transform. As we look back on the third quarter of 2023, YOU Search & Select, a leading specialist in recruitment in the events industry, is pleased to present its latest quarterly report on recruitment trends.

Founder and Fitability® Recruiter, Robert Kenward, provides valuable insights into the latest industry recruiting trends and looks ahead to trends for the next quarter.

Three key trends emerged during this quarter:

The demise of fully remote work: the rebirth of personal engagement

“Over the past two years, the industry has transitioned to remote working due to the global pandemic. However, we are an industry that thrives on personal connections and personal experiences, so it should come as no great surprise that the fully remote approach (never being in the office at all) is fading,” said Kenward. “The events sector has always placed an emphasis on face-to-face interactions – we are a ‘soft’ sector with a lot of high-touch – and this sentiment has now been transferred to employers who are increasingly asking ‘where are our employees?’ Agencies and companies tell me that the impact of all the remote work is evident in several ways, including a loss of creativity, a lack of peer-to-peer learning and cultural erosion. Even the agencies that prided themselves on being ‘remote-only’ are bringing their teams back to the office one or two days a week.”

DIY Recruitment: Proceed with caution

“Over the past quarter there has been a growing trend for companies to manage recruitment internally – with many believing that recruitment was as easy as posting a job opening on LinkedIn,” said Kenward. “I’m in favor of companies doing it themselves, as long as they do it well, otherwise it’s more bad publicity for recruitment as a whole! This spray-and-pray approach to recruitment has led to the sector facing two distinct challenges: a difficulty in finding candidates suitable for the medium/long term, and a higher turnover rate because the wrong candidate was recruited in a rush to fill a seat, and not to get in line. with the ambitions of the candidate/company.”

The impact of referral programs on diversity

“Referral programs have become popular again in the events industry as people try to reduce costs by not using professionals; these plans are cheap and who wouldn’t want to ‘keep it in the family’ and hire friends of their great team? comments Kenward. “Many companies offer cash incentives for employee referrals, which leads to new hires joining the company without the need for an in-depth selection process. While this method can be useful, it does require due diligence. Referrals can lead to a lack of diversity, both in terms of ethnicity and gender, as employees tend to refer people within their network, who may be similar in demographics. Referral programs can also cause salary disparities because employees tend to talk to their friends.”

As we look ahead, Kenward can make several predictions:

Technical issues at events that impact decision making:

“This time last year, everyone was overwhelmed and hiring like crazy, and many saw this as a prediction of things to come. A year later, the sector has now settled down at a much more even pace. This may feel like a blip, but this is more like where we would have been without the pandemic. Our industry is still taking small steps; learning to walk again before we can run. The massive layoffs in the event technology sector have impacted decision makers who are now much more cautious,” says Kenward, “although ultimately these tech companies were hired en masse without a real strategy. It is inevitable that at some point we will collapse.”

Moving away from location-based compensation:

“Organizations are rethinking location-based rewards. Instead of rewarding employees for living in expensive urban areas, pay will be based on the value of their work. If an employer chooses to work from home more, this may have consequences for his salary. “If a company once paid London to wait, this will now be revised to reflect the employee’s home location, rather than the company having to fork out higher salaries due to the cost of living in a city,” Kenward said. “Like it or not, those who demand to work from home will no longer be able to dictate terms to employers.”

Increased mergers and acquisitions:

“Small to mid-sized agencies will explore mergers and acquisitions as an alternative to building departments from scratch. This trend aims to improve efficiency and expand expertise,” said Kenward. “These agencies already have influence over the so-called ‘big boys’, as brands/clients now increasingly want a high-quality relationship with agencies that they believe are there to support and add value.”

Senior level positions focus on benefits:

“Senior level professionals (£60,000+ salary) are now much more interested in the benefits package on offer than a few thousand pounds in extra salary. Healthcare, pensions and other benefits now have a much greater appeal to this audience,” said Kenward. “Last year was all about offering a salary increase, but smart, forward-thinking agencies are now realizing that if they want to convince business-changing talent to choose them, they need to create a total package that inspires trust and a sense of belonging.”

YOU Search & Select’s quarterly report provides valuable insights into recruitment and organizational dynamics. By capitalizing on these trends and making proactive hiring decisions, organizations can navigate the changing landscape and secure top talent.

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