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Graduate salaries in the events industry

How much should you expect to be paid as a budding events management professional?
Promotional prospects are good and with fifteen years’ experience you could be earning over £54,000.

There are a number of opportunities for graduates looking to build a career in events or conference management. These range from volunteer roles running events such as Oxjam music festivals, which are held to support Oxfam, to entry-level assistant roles – you could even go straight into an event management role if you gained relevant experience during your studies.

Variation of salaries in events

Salaries vary considerably according to employer, location and the industry for which your events are created and run. Some employers will also reward their events staff with commission-based payments and bonuses in addition to their base salary.

The starting salaries of events assistants can range from £15,000 to £35,000 per year depending on the size of the company, level of responsibility and experience of the candidate. According to a survey carried out by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the average salary was £17,905 for 2012/13 event management graduates in full-time paid employment.

Employers that run large specialist events offer higher salaries. Public sector events employers pay graduates £15,000 to £26,000 depending on experience. Conference producers with Clarion Events can earn around £25,000, also depending on experience.

Promotional prospects

According to Event magazine’s Industry Salary Survey 2013, the mean salary of those working in the events industry who are 25 or younger is £22,718. With two to five years’ experience, employees can expect to earn £28,022. In all, promotional prospects are good in the industry, and the highest-earning group, those with over 15 years’ experience, earn £54,858 on average.

Where to look

A good place to start looking for roles is with charities: Cancer Research UK, for example, hires graduates into events assistant roles. The scheme typically runs from May to October each year and events assistants are paid around £7 per hour.

In a similar vein, the Multiple Sclerosis Society has hired fundraising and events assistants in the past, rewarding them with £19,500 to £22,000 in a full-time, year-long post.

Charities and specialist events companies are not the only place to look – there is demand for events professionals across all industries. The British Film Institute has hired events assistants in the past on a salary of £18,000 to £21,000; the Centre for Cities has paid £22,000 to £24,000 for similar roles. Museums look for employees for events too; the salary for events assistants with The Wallace Collection can be around £18,000. You will find opportunities for careers in events almost anywhere.

You may even find that your own university has events-based vacancies, even if only as part-time or seasonal work. In the past Royal Holloway, University of London has hired graduate interns in recruitment and events for full-time, one-year posts and has paid £19,800 to £22,200. Similarly, the University of Oxford hires events and administration assistants for £20,000 to £24,000. It may be worth checking your own campus to see if any such opportunities are available.

How much are events managers paid?

A number of positions advertised as ‘events manager’ actually pay around the same as many events assistant roles. The scope and reach of the events company or other organisation is a key factor in the pay on offer. 

It is important not to get too caught up in the wording of job titles: salaries across the industry vary upon employer, industry and the particular requirements of your role. It will be up to you to manage your career and to ensure that you are remunerated at an appropriate level for your experience and knowledge.