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Gearing up for a Future Skills Shortage in the Events Industry.

Andy Robertson

As the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier in 2020 the entire events and entertainment industry has been one of the hardest hit economically. Staff have been laid off or at best furloughed and continued restrictions on audiences, operating hours and varying financial support from The UK Government mean the outlook for the first half of 2021 is bleak.  

The number of people employed in the events industry in 2019 was estimated at 570,000 but those still in employment in this sector must now be far lower. The current situation is building up potential problems for the future. Assuming that the events sector starts a recovery in the latter half of 2021 there are predictions that 2022 onwards will experience a booming events sector.

During the current period of closures many people previously working in the events industry have had no choice but to find alternative employment. The potential result of this move away from working in the events industry is the loss of highly skilled and experienced talent. When the industry picks up again in 2021 there is therefore likely going to be a shortage of this talent. What can event organisers and events support service companies do to plan for this possible shortage?

Some industries impacted by financial pressure and finding the need to reduce headcount have been planning for future business in 2021. Rather than doing nothing they are advertising vacancies and recruiting now for future positions. These ‘future’ employment contracts can work for employers and candidates, although there is no employment or salary now their contracts state a flexible start date and guaranteed future salary. This approach ensures that the employer secures the top candidates with skills and experience they need when business resumes. For the candidate they get some kind of assurance that they have a paid job to go to on a given date and can continue to work on their current job. 

This future forward thinking strategy can and should start to be adopted more widely in the events industry. This approach will safeguard those skilled employees and ensures they are not lost to another industry and means that events businesses don’t have to waste time recruiting in a competitive market when business picks up. Assuming that a suitable talent can be secured now for employment on a future date is just the start, even if the employment is scheduled to commence in mid 2021 the employer should remain in regular contact with the employee to update them on the business and provide training materials for example. This will ensure they can hit the ground running on their start date.

Using an events software management platform like FestivalPro event organisers get all the functionality they need to plan every aspect of their future events. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy for new employees to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for artists, vendors, contractors, volunteers, contactless ordering and a complete ticketing solution. All documents and data is stored in one centrally controlled database with secure access allocated to specific roles.

Photo by Abet Llacer from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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