Event manager

 12 March 2013

Event managers coordinate and plan events, such as exhibition openings and fundraising parties.

Event managers organise and plan events for all ages and backgrounds. Image: Imperial War Museum.
Event managers organise and plan events for all ages and backgrounds. Image: Imperial War Museum.

What do they do?

Event managers organise and plan events, from fundraising evenings to gala balls.

There are many different sorts of events, each with their own specific challenges. Examples include:

  • the opening of a new exhibition
  • a fundraising party to help fund the museum’s work
  • helping somebody who wants to have their wedding in a museum
  • working with corporations to arrange events that help promote their organisation.

You might work for the museum itself, or you might work separately and work with the museum as the place to host the event.

What is the job like?

Communication

Event managers need to be good at communication. Every event has different needs. Most events are being held for a reason – to raise money, for example.

A good event manager has a big book of contacts, covering all possibilities.

You need to talk to the people who want the event to happen, finding out what they want and explaining how it could be done.

You will also suggest ideas yourself, then make a budget to show what it will cost.

Organisation

Attention to detail, careful planning and patience are important.

Once all the details are agreed, you talk to many other people to organise everything. This can include:

  • musicians
  • actors
  • catering staff
  • security teams
  • waiters
  • cleaners
  • designers
  • printers, and many more.

A good event manager has a big book of contacts, covering all possibilities. So you need to be a good networker, able to find all the different people you might need and get on good terms with them.

Although the work is usually 9-5, close to the event it can be much more. You have to call people at the last minute to make sure everything is ready on time.

Taking responsibility

Finally, you’ll be at the event yourself. Partly so you can enjoy all your hard work, but also so that if anything unexpected happens, you’re there to sort it out. Bad weather, travel problems or sickness might spoil your plans, so you need to be calm and cheerful under pressure.  

Event managers have busy social lives. They go out often, to their own events and other people’s. It’s important to manage your time and energy well, so you don’t get too tired to do your work. 

What qualifications and training do I need?

Training

Many people join an existing company as a trainee or apprentice. Most events management jobs will expect you to have two or three years of experience under your belt. Volunteering is the best way to get this experience.

Research and contact local museums and events management companies. They may have intern or apprentice positions you can get involved with.

Work experience counts very highly in this profession. Employers will want to know that you have good organisational skills, can manage a budget and communicate with clients well.

Qualifications

There is no minimum qualification needed to work in events management, and it is not essential to get a degree.

However, events management is a very competitive career, and qualifications will help you stand out from other applicants.

There is plenty of training available, from foundation courses to BTEC qualifications to full degrees. The UKSP, a body that helps develop careers linked to hospitality and leisure, offers excellent advice and has a good search engine for finding training courses.

The official trade body for live events in the UK is Eventia, which runs a number of short seminars and courses on events management.

Many universities in the UK offer events managements as a degree subject. Searching for events management on the UCAS website.

How much can I earn?

Your starting salary is likely to be between £17,000 and £21,000 a year.

On average, an event manager can expect to earn around £25,000 a year. This depends on your qualifications and experience. It can be much higher, especially if you work for big companies.

For heritage work, the pay might be a bit lower. The heritage sector is very competitive and doesn’t always have as much money as the corporate sector.


Also of interest


Stay updated

Sign up for our weekly careers newsletter

View our privacy policy.

Related jobs & apprenticeships

Related events & opportunities