Job type

Conference manager

£21k - £58k

Typical salary

37 – 39

Hours per week

Conference and exhibition managers plan and run events like trade shows, conferences and exhibitions.

More info

  • Plan and run events like trade shows, conferences and exhibitions
  • With experience, option to become assistant manager, then manager, or set up your own consultancy
  • Your role may involve travel to meet potential sponsors and exhibitors, venues, and contractors

As a conference manager you'll work in exhibition marketing, operations or sales.

DAY-TO-DAY DUTIES

In exhibition marketing you'll:

  • Research the level of interest in an event
  • Publicise events
  • Find suitable venues and dates
  • Oversee the design and printing of tickets, posters and promotional items

In exhibition operations you'll:

  • Plan timetables
  • Book venues
  • Supervise and pay exhibition designers and caterers
  • Work closely with venue staff
  • Handle enquiries from exhibitors, speakers, sponsors and visitors

In exhibition sales you'll:

  • Sell stand space to exhibitors
  • Arrange sponsorship for events

DAY-TO-DAY ENVIRONMENT

Your overall pay could include bonuses and commission if you work in exhibition sales. You may work longer hours in the run-up to a conference or exhibition. You'll usually work in an office and travel to meet potential sponsors and exhibitors, venues, and contractors. You could work for an event management company, exhibition venue, or marketing department of a large organisation.

You'll need

This role is ideal for someone with knowledge of media production and communication, excellent verbal communication skills and has the ability to work well under pressure.

There are no set requirements but employers will usually look for relevant experience and strong transferable skills like organising, budget management and marketing. Any experience you have in hotel conference and banqueting, travel, sales, PR or fundraising can be especially useful.

Doing paid or unpaid work as a steward at large events or exhibitions can be useful for building up contacts in the industry. This is a good way to hear about jobs, as many are not advertised.

A foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in events management or hospitality management could give you an advantage, although it's not essential. These university courses often include work placements, which will help you get practical experience and develop contacts in the industry.

You could also do a college course such as a level 2 Certificate in Event Planning, level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Event Management or level 3 Diploma in Live Events and Promotion to gain experience.

Alternatively you could get started in the conference and events industry through an events assistant advanced apprenticeship or a hospitality management higher apprenticeship.

You could begin as an administrator or marketing assistant with a conference management company, possibly through temporary work. As your experience grows, you may be able to take on more responsibility for organising events.

CAREER PROSPECTS

With experience, you could take on bigger events. You could become assistant manager, then manager. You could set up your own consultancy.