Conference and event planners plan, organize and coordinate conferences, conventions, meetings, seminars, exhibitions, trade shows, festivals and other events.
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People in this occupation:
This can be an exciting field to work in, as it provides variety in terms of events, activities and locations, as well as an opportunity to meet people from a wide range of backgrounds.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 1,410
N/A - Data not available
Conference and event planners perform some or all of the following duties:
Planners may work from an office; however, much of the work is performed on-site at hotels, convention centres or other event locations. Planners may also visit suppliers of conference materials (such as audio-visual gear).
Weekend and evening work is common and planners often work long hours prior to and during events. Work in this field can be seasonal for festival planners, whose events tend to be concentrated in the summer months.
Planners are increasingly using event planning software, performing duties through tools such as webinars, virtual conferences and podcasts, and using the Internet to access information and must be able to adapt to new technologies that may be used in their day to day work.
Source: 2016 Census
Planners usually need to complete a university degree or college diploma in marketing, sales, business, tourism or hospitality administration. Other training may include:
Several years of experience in hospitality, tourism administration, public relations or in a comparable position at a conference centre or hotel are usually required and may substitute for formal education requirements (up to two years is preferred in some instances). Additional assets which may benefit individuals include:
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
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The majority of job openings in this occupational group are expected to come from retirements.
British Columbia has become increasingly popular as a tourist destination, both domestically and internationally. This will improve demand for workers in this occupation, as the desirability to use sites within B.C. increases. New conference facilities (i.e. the Vancouver Convention Centre) are also increasing the capacity of the province to host large events. As well, the business services sector is also growing as more companies and organizations contract experts for specific tasks, such as meeting and conference planning.
Industry sources report that demand for workers in this occupation is linked to the general economy, and that increased demand may be in response to more positive economic conditions. As well, on a smaller scale, it is reported that new trends in the use of on-line meetings may affect smaller meetings and conferences by reducing the need for planners.
Competition for employment in this field will likely be strong due to the desirable nature of this work.
Recent graduates typically find work as event coordinator assistants, junior meeting planners in a hotel and catering assistants. Conference planners who have gained experience managing a wide range of activities are qualified for a range of administrative and managerial tasks as senior planners, team managers or directors of sales.
With experience, it is possible to move up to related positions in marketing or hospitality management or to progress to managing larger events.