Event Industry Recruitment Trends and Forecasts: July to September 2023


In the fast-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 event industry recruitment, is pleased to present its latest quarterly report on recruitment trends.

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

During this quarter, three significant trends have emerged:

The Demise of Fully Remote Work: The Rebirth of In-Person Engagement

“The past two years have seen the industry shift towards remote work due to the global pandemic. However, we are an industry which thrives on personal connections and in-person experiences, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the fully remote work (never being in the office at all) approach is fading,” comments Kenward. “The events sector has always emphasised face-to-face interactions – we are a “soft,” high-touch industry – and this sentiment has now transferred to employers who are increasingly asking “where are our employees?” Agencies and companies are telling me that the impact of all remote working is evident in several ways including a loss of creativity, a lack of peer-to-peer learning and cultural erosion. Even the agencies who took pride in being ‘remote only’ are bringing their teams back to the office for one or two days a week.”

DIY Recruitment: Proceed with Caution

“Over the last quarter, there has been a growing trend for companies to manage recruitment in-house – with many believing that recruitment was as simple as posting a job ad on LinkedIn,” comments Kenward. “I’m pro companies doing it themselves, if they do it properly, otherwise it’s yet 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 who fit mid/long term, and higher employee attrition because the wrong candidate was recruited in a hurry to fill a seat, not to align with the candidate/company aspirations.”

The Impact of Referral Programs on Diversity

“Referral programs have gained popularity in the events industry again as people attempt to reduce costs by not using professionals; these schemes are cheap and who wouldn’t want to ‘keep it in the family’ and employ friends of their amazing team?” comments Kenward. “Many companies offer cash incentives for employee referrals, leading to new hires joining the company without the any in-depth selection process. While this method can be beneficial, it does require due diligence. Referrals can lead to a lack of diversity, both in ethnicity and gender, as employees tend to refer those within their network, who may be similar in demographic characteristics. Referral programs can also create salary disparities as employees have a tendency to talk to their friends.”

As we look forward, Kenward can make several forecasts:

Event tech issues impacting on decision making:

“This time last year, everyone was rushed off their feet and hiring like crazy, and many viewed this as prediction of things to come. Fast forward a year, and the sector has settled down now to a far more even pace. This may feel like a dip, but this is more like where we would have been without the pandemic. Our industry is still taking baby steps; learning to walk again before we can run. The huge redundancies in the event tech sector have impacted on decision makers who are far more cautious now,” comments Kenward, “even though the long and short of it, was these tech companies hired en-masse without a real strategy, so it was bound to coming crashing down at some point.”

Shift away from Location-Based Compensation:

“Organisations are reconsidering location-based compensation. Instead of rewarding employees for residing in high-cost urban areas, compensation will be based on job worth. If an employer chooses to work more from home, then this could impact on their salary. If a company once paid London waiting, this is now being reviewed to reflect the home location of the employee rather than the company have to stump up larger salaries due to the cost of living in a city,” comments Kenward. “Like it or not, for those who demand to work from home, they won’t be able to dictate terms to employers anymore.”

Increased Mergers and Acquisitions:

“Smaller to medium-sized agencies will explore mergers and acquisitions as an alternative to building departments from scratch. This trend aims to improve efficiency and expand expertise,” comments Kenward. “These agencies are already impacting the so-called “big boys” as brands/clients now want more of a high touch relationship with agencies who they feel are there to support and add value.”

Senior level roles are focusing on benefits:

“Senior level professionals (£60K+ salary) are now far more interested in the package of benefits on offer rather than a few thousand pounds extra salary. Health care, pensions, and other perks now have far more appeal to this audience,” comments Kenward. “Last year was all about offering a bump in salary, but smart progressive agencies now realise to get business altering talent to choose them, they have to create an overall package which inspires trust and a sense of belonging.”

The quarterly report from YOU Search & Select provides valuable insights in recruitment and organizational dynamics. By staying attuned to these trends and making proactive recruitment decisions, organisations can navigate the evolving landscape and secure top talent.

Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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