Contracting in the events industry is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s hardly surprising considering the flexibility and pay that contracting in this industry can offer. Not only are there many advantages to becoming a contractor, but there is also a high demand for them due to the nature of the industry, as well as many advantages for companies to use them.
Companies have different event cycles and during the busy periods such as directly before, during, and after an event, they will often seek to bring contractors on board. Whether it is to sell tickets or to market the event beforehand, or another pair of hands to organise the event on the day, there are many opportunities to contract in events. This approach enables companies to only take on staff when they really need them, without long term commitment.
The London Olympics 2012 were a prime example of the kinds of opportunities contracting in events can bring. Thousands of event professionals took contract positions for this huge event, many of whom were already in permanent employment, but couldn’t pass up this once in a lifetime opportunity. This definitely highlighted the possibilities of contracting to those working in the events industry.
So what are the advantages of contracting in the conference and events industry?
You will gain a varied portfolio of work experience – which includes different types and sizes of events to show your skills.
You will often be paid a lot more than permanent employees. Firstly, this is because they usually bring events contractors on board during their busiest periods – they need them to hit the ground running so are willing to pay more for their specific set of skills and experience. Secondly, unlike with permanent employees, they do not have to pay contractors sick pay, holiday pay, redundancy or employer’s NI – so can usually afford to pay them more.
You will usually have more flexible hours than permanent employees and you also have the freedom to choose when you take your holidays. Fitting contracting in around other jobs means you can supplement your pay without disturbing your other existing commitments.
Working on a wide range of events is more stimulating than working on the same event or events for months or years on end – you can provide a fresh approach and new ideas which are extremely valuable to event organisers.
Despite the many advantages of working on a contract basis, if it were as simple as this then companies would be finding it extremely difficult to entice permanent employees. So of course, contracting is not for everyone and there are some disadvantages to consider.
So what are the disadvantages of contracting in the conference and events industry?
You won’t get paid when you take holiday or if you are unwell. You won't get any of the company perks like maternity leave, discounts, parties, pensions, cycle to work schemes etc. Neither will you get any financial compensation should the company decide they don't want to employ you anymore – even if you have been relying on this work.
You will sometimes have to spend a lot of your time chasing work, finding new contacts, researching companies to work for, chasing invoices and doing quotes/pitches, all in unpaid time.
Just as there are disadvantages for contractors, there may also be some for the company. Some employers worry that contractors may be less loyal to their company, clients and brand than permanent employees, promoting their own services on the job.
On the whole, it is completely down to individual choice as to whether or not you are suited to contracting. However, if you believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages then this could be a career route you wish to embark on.
Albany Appointments is London's most established recruitment specialist to the Conference, Exhibitions and Events industry. Created over 35 years ago, our strength lies in our unrivalled knowledge of the B2B Events sector and our commitment to both Clients and Candidates throughout the recruitment process and beyond.
Recruiting across a variety of positions, in London and Internationally, we specialise in placing candidates into Conference Production, Event Management, Marketing and Sales roles, from entry-level and graduate positions to management and senior executive level.