Between the brain drain in the events industry and labor shortages, the event technology labor has transformed dramatically. And not for the better: event planners are finding it increasingly hard to hire reliable and experienced vendors at a reasonable price.
Those who have survived the harsh conditions of the pandemic are fully booked and expensive. On the other hand, there is a wave of new labor coming in, but they are not as experienced. Aside from increasing their event budgets, what should event planners do?
Join Will and Brandt as they talk about the current state of event technology labor. They give sound advice to event planners and up-and-coming event technology enthusiasts who are just getting started in the events industry.
The Current State Of Event Technology Labor
Event technology labor has decided to leave the events industry in a massive quantity. “Some are retiring, while others simply don’t want to go back after being furloughed,” Brandt says. “This applies especially to the AV side of event technology.”
Additionally, the freelance market has changed as well in the last year. “Everybody who was freelance struggled, in the beginning, to find jobs and get work. But then what happened is all the people who didn’t enjoy it or weren’t good enough left. Now, event technology labor that IS left is all very busy. It’s extremely hard to book these well-qualified people,” adds Will.
Culture First, Skills Second
One of the areas of event technology where there was an increase in job opportunities is event tech customer support. Brandt has noticed that now, with in-person events back, event planners are short on offering help onsite.
“A lot of times when event technology labor is coming on-site, they need to be more generalist in their abilities,” says Will. “You need somebody who not only knows the specific product features but also understands the events industry. You can’t just throw someone in a two-week training and they learn how to do events. The best way to learn and start your career in the events industry is by doing.”
Brandt wonders whether it would be wise to look for a personality type rather than skills alone. “They need to understand the business side and the technology, but more importantly, they need to understand how events work.”
“Hire for culture first and skill second,” agrees Will. “I’ve worked with temporary employees and contractors for events before, and some are technically incredible. However, their personality was not that great. I would rather hire somebody who can do 75%, but is a pleasure to work with.”
Learning Opportunities For Event Technology Labor
Will addresses all event technology enthusiasts and up-and-coming event staff listening to the Event Tech Podcast and encourages them to make some wise career moves. “Go shadow someone at events. And event planners, if you see that the crew has a couple more people standing around and it’s more than what you originally planned, don’t shame that. Don’t make aspiring event technology labor feel bad. I’ve had events where there are just too many people at the table. But you don’t realize how many times there are people who are willing to show up and work for free. Make those people make as part of the crew. Let’s encourage a learning environment.”
Advice For Event Planners: Invest In Pre-Production
Will reminds the listeners that the costs of everything are going up. “Most clients won’t argue your rates. But they will argue over the number of people. If the rates are going up, the only way they can save money is by decreasing the number of people.”
“We will all need to have a little bit of grace in this time,” agrees Brandt. “Understand that not everybody is going to have 20 years of experience in the business. While the rates are going up, the quality of staff is essentially going down. And because they’re inexperienced, things take longer to do.”
So, how should event planners deal with this unfortunate situation? “Talk to your event technology labor in advance. Make sure that the show flow is done as early in the process as possible. You need to have a tech walkthrough,” advises Brandt.
To support Brandt’s advice, Will shares an Endless Events anecdote. Not to brag, but Endless always gets praise for being the most organized event team. “The client said it was all the pre-production work that we did. Other vendors probably looked at the event the week before, but we were talking to everybody involved in the event, over-communicating. We were so involved in the pre-production process that we were basically part of the events team itself.”
Better Event Technology Labor Coming Through
To end on a positive note, Will reminds the listeners that a new wave of event technology labor is coming in. “Right now, we are witnessing a transition and it isn’t easy. Everybody’s learning and training. But once they learn, everybody will be working faster, smarter, and better than ever before.”
Brandt wholeheartedly agrees. “The digital natives are coming in and they will revolutionize our events. They will be able to flip seamlessly between virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. To them, it will all just be an event. It doesn’t matter what your location is; they will be able to bounce back from one format to another.”
And remember, hire an event management company if you do not have the capacity to oversee all aspects of event planning. Not many event planners do it all by themselves, especially when they handle big budgets. So, reach out, the Endless Events team is just one click away.