ROBYN Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Meeting and Events Australia

Research identifies skills gaps

Meetings & Events Australia conducted research into the Australian events industry and found a clear need to attract younger people to event management.

The first study identified there were skills shortages across all sectors of the events industry and that event management appeared twice in the top five list of skills shortages at both the mid and senior levels. The findings of our 2018 study indicated that these shortages have grown by 5% at the mid-level and nearly 3% at the senior event management level over the past 12 months. This disturbing outcome indicates the need for more structured training is growing steadily.

The second survey indicated that the gap is growing and that there is an increase in attracting school leavers to event management.

Our research posed an important question. What should we do to future proof the sector? There are a number of courses offered at TAFE and colleges around Australia and as the industry’ registered training organisation, MEA introduced a Diploma of Event Management. But is this enough to ensure that Australia has a robust supply of well-trained event professionals that want a career in event management?

We need to ask ourselves this. Do we understand that we are all collectively responsible for growing and developing our people, and for providing a workplace environment that appeals to a younger generation — with strategies to keep them challenged, offer flexible working arrangements and foster development?

This issue is not limited to the Australian events industry — it is a global problem. With the global economy growing by 3.7% in 2017 the downside is finding and keeping talent.

MEA is working on programs to support the development of young event professionals and to promote the industry as a career option for school leavers. MEA conducts ‘Career Insights’ days across the country and is often invited to attend schools to present on the diverse range of careers paths in the event sector.

MEA has recently launched an Event Essential course which is an introductory curriculum aimed at newcomers to the industry or to those who are interested in an event career but are unsure of what it entails.

MEA conducts two-day workshops every 10 weeks on event related topics that can be attended either face-to-face or online which enables students and event professionals to access the program from all around Australia.

The skills acquired via MEA’s professional development programs provide a strong base of knowledge that can also be transferred to many other occupations. We need to ensure that we retain our members (your staff) by following up with identifiable career paths and other incentives so that they know that they are valued and respected for their skills and experience.

MEA is conducting a third survey on skills in the coming months and will analyse this new information and compare it with the previous data collected to identify the trends in the skills gaps.


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