How to become an event manager

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How to become an event manager

If you have excellent organisational skills and love seeing a plan come together, event management jobs might be perfect for you. Whether it’s a book launch or a fashion show, music concert or work conference, there’s a network of hard-working people behind every event.

In this guide we look at how to become an event manager, including the tasks involved, skills required and paths to get there.

What are event managers?

Event managers are the people who plan and organise all kinds of events. This includes social gatherings like parties, weddings and concerts, promotional events like book launches or film screenings, and business events like trade shows, job fairs, conferences, seminars, exhibitions and networking evenings. Sometimes they’ll work on series of events throughout the year, or a one-off event.

Event managers oversee the whole event from the first planning stages, through to running the event on the day, and then evaluating how it went afterwards. It’s a very hands-on role and requires working in a team.

What do event managers do?

Event managers often work in teams

The tasks and responsibilities involved in event management jobs vary widely depending on the kind of event we’re talking about. But here’s an overview of what an event manager might do:

  • Finding different venues and visiting them to see if they’re suitable.
  • Meeting with clients (that could be a person or staff of a company) to find out what they want from the event.
  • Coming up with creative ideas for the event.
  • Writing a detailed plan, which factors in deadlines and budget, and making sure the client is happy with it.
  • Researching suppliers and contractors (including for example, music, food, equipment, entertainment and other supplies), and then negotiating a price with them.
  • Finding and contacting performers or speakers.
  • Arranging transport for everyone coming to the event.
  • Arranging any decorations.
  • Organising facilities for things like parking, security, the media and first aid.
  • Promoting the event.
  • Sending out any materials beforehand, for example a delegate pack if it’s a conference or trade show.
  • Overseeing staff at the event and giving them briefings and instructions.  
  • Responding quickly if any problems arise.
  • Making sure that health and safety rules are followed.
  • Overseeing the clearing up and removal after the event.
  • Write an analysis report that looks and how the event went.
  • Research possible new clients and ideas for events.

Some jobs in event management involve specialising in a particular kind of event, for example product launches, fundraising events, or festivals.

Learn more: event coordination apprentice Ellie shares what jobs in event management are really like

There are usually three broad types of event management jobs:

    1. In-house event managers organise conferences, exhibitions or other events for one specific company, their employer, running throughout the year.
    2. Agency event managers work for an agency which will then have lots of different clients (ie companies and brands) which need events. This role has the potential to be more varied, as you could be working on everything from product launches to pop-ups, but the job is very fast-paced and challenging.
    3. Event company event managers work for big event organisers, for example Media 10 oversees major exhibitions. Sometimes these kind of event managers will just work on one event for the whole year.

Entry-level event managers can expect to earn between £18,000 and £22,000. Very experienced event managers can earn around £33,000, rising to above £40,000 for senior managers or directors.

What skills does it take?

Events run from small parties and weddings to huge
conferences and concerts

Here are some of the skills, qualities and characteristics needed to become a good event manager.

  • Organised.
  • Time management.
  • Fast learner.
  • IT knowledge.
  • Numeracy – able to understand or learn financial information.
  • Confident.
  • Communication – able to get your point across with everyone from clients to delivery drivers.
  • Attention to detail.
  • People skills.
  • Communication.  
  • Problem solver and lateral thinker.
  • Negotiation.
  • Enthusiastic and motivated.
  • Project management skills.

How to become an event manager…

Jobs in event management do not require a degree. Employers will look at your experience and skills. Work experience tends to be more important than qualifications when it comes to becoming an event manager, however there are some qualifications that may set your application apart. These include Level 2 Award / Certificate in Event Planning and the Level 2 Certificate in Live Events and Promotion. You can become an event manager by doing an apprenticeship.

Learn how to become an event manager through an apprenticeship

Check out the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) for information on accredited courses and qualifications.

You can gain practical experience in events management through areas like hotel conferences, travel and tourism, cultural events or public relations. It might also be possible to develop experience of organising events as part of another job, for example human resources officer or personal assistant.

Another way to gain this all-important work experience is through volunteering. Most event organisers need volunteers to help them pull off large events, so search online for opportunities at events such as festivals, major conferences, and award ceremonies.

Main image, team and event via Pexels


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