The Wage Debate: It's still an employer's market, says Conference Care

Andrew Deakin, director, Conference Care, gives his take on whether wages are rising in the UK events sector. Next up, Top Banana.

Andrew Deakin, director, Conference Care
Andrew Deakin, director, Conference Care

Event agencies are divided over whether rising wages will intensify the fight for the best talent in 2015, following Prime Minister David Cameron's recent call to give Britain a pay rise.

Conference Care's Andrew Deakin gave his opinion:

"Although the industry has shown considerable growth and recovery over the last 18 months, the UK, and corresponding worldwide economy is still very unstable. The recent drop in oil prices has led to a drop in demand for events, and there are many current events that can and will affect the MICE market globally.

In terms of the UK economy we are recovering, but not across the board; while the South has enjoyed significant growth, the North is still very much playing catch up, presenting us with the challenge of a two tier economy. An upcoming election will further unsettle the market, as new government always brings about changes to day-to-day business operations.

The coalition, under David Cameron’s leadership, has in fact already orchestrated a ‘pay rise’ via the introduction of auto enrolment. The pension scheme, which could be viewed as a stealth tax on employment, has had huge administrative, time and financial implications for small businesses; forcing their hand in allocating funds to the pension scheme that may otherwise have been earmarked for an increase in wages.

While Cameron’s speech might win him a few votes, I think the balance of supply and demand of employees is far more likely to be the key factor in increasing or decreasing wages; the quickest way the government could ensure pay rises would be to reduce income tax or VAT!

It is still very much an employer’s market; on average when recruiting Conference Care receive over 100 applications for every vacancy. Not everyone may be suitable, but we find at least 10-12% of these are strong applications, enabling us to cherry pick the very best candidates for the job.

It has always been a challenge to find top talent, especially as our Head Office is not based in London. However, at graduate level we have seen an increase in the calibre of new employees. Universities up and down the country are offering degrees in Event Management or similar, some of whom are affiliated with the HBAA Graduate Scheme, resulting in an overwhelming number of graduates keen to work in our sector."

What do other agencies think?

The Wage Debate: Salary not the most important factor, says drp

The Wage Debate: Creating a supportive culture is key, says TRO

More: 

Conference director salaries hit £100k

Event salaries on rise due to shortage of talent

Rise in senior-level recruitment as salaries remain flat

UK Analysis: Pay is just part of the package

Workplace Uncovered: event industry salaries revealed

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