How many people work in the events industry?
With the furlough scheme coming to an end, how many jobs are at risk in the events and exhibition industry?
If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know the struggles facing the events industry. We have been excluded. With the furlough scheme coming to an end and no sign of a restart date, how many jobs are at risk? To answer that question, we have to look at how many people work in the events industry.
- The events industry contributes £70 billion to the UK economy each year
- Conferences, meetings and exhibitions equate for 79% of this economic contribution
- 85 million people attend events each year
- There are over 10,000 events venues in the UK
- 61% of business operating in the events industry expect to be closed within six months
- 1,000,000 people work in the live events industry
- 90,000 events jobs are predicted to be lost in October with the furlough scheme coming to an end
- 400,000 events jobs are predicted to be lost by the end of 2020 if the industry does not receive further support
- 95% of the live event supply chain were not eligible for the Chancellor’s cultural recovery fund
- Sports Tournaments
Despite this impressive list, the chancellor has excluded the events industry from further support.
With the current support packages coming to an end, a survey by Feast It found that 61% of businesses operating within the events industry expect to be closed within six months. The study also found 400,000 jobs will be gone from this industry by the end of 2020.
What the Event Industry Needs
To keep the events industry alive, the #WeMakeEvents campaign is looking for support to help us get back to work. They are asking for:
- A government backed COVID-19 insurance scheme
- Government support for widespread proactive COVID-19 testing for event attendees
- A three-year extension to the reduced cultural VAT rate on tickets in line with DCMS recommendations
However, currently, we can’t get back to work. Gatherings are restricted by legislation, which is preventing us from doing our jobs. Until such a time that events can resume, the #WeMakeEvents campaign is asking for:
- Grants (not loans) made available to businesses in the events supply chain
- A specific job support scheme for live events supply chain until the government guidelines change on social distancing to allow a commercially viable return to work
How many people work in the Events Industry?
#WeMakeEvents predict there are up to 1,000,000 people working in the live events sector. This includes almost 600,000 people working in the outdoor events industry and a further 115,000 working in the conference and exhibition industry.
A large percentage of the workforce are highly-skilled freelancers. They work on a self-employed basis. It’s the nature of the job. The industry is seasonal and there isn’t a constant stream of work.
Each year 278,000 weddings take place in the UK. More than three-quarters of these weddings take place between April and September.
This has been another problem that the sector has faced. Our freelancers were unable to access financial support.
Quadrant2Design design, manufacture and build exhibition stands. We are an event industry supplier; however, our role is very niche. Like the wedding industry, we are also affected by seasonality.
Then you have to brief us so we design an exhibition stand that you love. This goes straight to one of our design consultants. Once they have the brief, they work with a 3D CAD designer. The two work together on your free 3D design proposal until they are both happy with the stand. Then, your design consultant presents your design.
Once you sign off your 3D design, you are designated a project manager. They are responsible for everything that goes on in-house (which saves you a lot of time!). Your exhibition stand design is passed to a graphic designer that specialises in large format print.
If you’re keeping track, currently six people are involved in designing your exhibition stand.
The design process is complete once you’ve signed off on your graphics. And then it’s time to manufacture. We do everything in-house, so your graphics are printed downstairs in our factory. Depending on the size of your stand, this requires 1 – 2 members of staff that are fully trained on all of the equipment.
It is our in-house team that pre-build your stand to make sure everything is perfect. Again, depending on the size, this requires 1 – 2 people. These installers will pack up and transport your stand to your venue for installation at the show.
In total, ten different people have contributed to your exhibition stand. These are all highly talented individuals who have spent years perfecting their skills.
And this is just one stand. Taking the International Food Expo as one example, with 1,350 exhibitors, you can start to imagine how many people are involved in the events industry supply chain.
Event Industry Supply Chain
People need more than exhibition stands when they are attending a trade show. Our project managers work closely with several other businesses to make sure every exhibition stand runs smoothly.
As well as venues and event organisers, hosting an exhibition requires caterers, furniture and audiovisual rental, carpet rental, cleaners, marshals, lighting designers, stage builders, riggers, printers and more.
Imagine the scope of the events industry if each of these suppliers required ten people per exhibition stand. And this is just exhibitions.
There are thousands of roles involved in the events industry supply chain. These roles are viable. And they need to be protected.
The events industry is the home of 1,000,000 workers, many of which are self-employed freelancers. The coronavirus restrictions have meant many of us are unable to do our jobs.
Thousands of event planners, venues and event industry suppliers have not raised an invoice since March.
Of one million workers, 400,000 are at risk of unemployment by the end of 2020. This is because the government have failed to offer financial support to an entire industry.
The winter economic plan continued to exclude the events industry from support. Businesses are preparing to close their doors for good.
The people employed in the events industry are viable. The work they do might be behind-the-scenes, but without them, there are no events. No festivals. No live music. No networking. No weddings. No sports tournaments.
Without them, the UK loses £70 billion annually. And that will filter through several industries as business travel and hotel bookings dwindle.
Sure, Edwina Currie thinks we’re not worth saving. Rishi Sunak thinks it’s time we retrain and find ‘better jobs’. But the events industry know what we’re worth. And we will continue to show resilience when faced with a crisis.
Written by Natalka Antoniuk