Nearly 850 event professionals responded to our Salary Survey 2023 conducted in early fall. They didn’t hold back when asked to share how they feel about their jobs — and how they would make improvements — in several open-ended questions that were asked. Here’s a taste of what they had to say — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Full results of the survey will be published in the upcoming December issue of Convene and soon online.
What would you change about your job?
Frequent responses included less stress, adding more staff, having greater flexibility over when to work from home, less micromanagement from leaders, being better compensated, and get a promotion. And a four-day workweek was also on a number of wish lists.
- “I would enjoy a better work/life balance. I often find that I’m getting Teams messages or checking emails on my personal time because everything is linked to my personal cell phone. It makes it difficult to disconnect from the office, which really takes a toll on my mental health.”
- “Shift my responsibilities to focus on what I’m most innately gifted to do (and what energizes rather than drains me) even if it means less money.”
- “Reducing internal meetings — if I spend my entire day on Zoom then my actual work isn’t getting done until after the work day is over.”
- “I would prefer to do more site visits. Often I book a venue sight unseen and usually don’t go onsite for smaller meetings.”
- “Less ‘collaboration’ with people outside my events team to make them feel included.”
- “Being empowered and having company goals/objectives so that I may better understand how I can contribute to the success and growth.”
Aside from a raise, what is the one thing you have asked — or would like to ask — from your boss?
Many respondents wanted more opportunities to learn and to be supported in earning industry designations, including the CMP. Other requests: more staffing, a larger meeting budget, greater flexibility, more comp days and time off. Some took us literally, and wrote in actual questions they wish they could say to their boss, like: “Can you please chill?” and “Can we have a rest on weekends?”
- “Hold slackers accountable.”
- “Real autonomy, not a bunch of cooks in the kitchen who don’t know how to cut an onion.”
- “I have asked for additional education. I would like to pursue my CMP, but unfortunately, I was told that the CMP is a better tool for networking and when looking for a job than a tool to help further my career at my current organization.”
- “For IT to work on the processes — do we need budget numbers in three different places?”
- “I would like my boss to recognize that it’s okay to say no to people and ideas. And to better protect the team from burnout.”
- “I would like to ask to shadow them when negotiating/managing contracts and other responsibilities that are fully theirs, so I can learn more.”
- “More emotional intelligence when it comes to managing the team.”
- “To give me an opportunity to shine and show what I can do. I see so much failure in our events marketing program and I know I can make it so much more than what it is.”
- “That if she adds to my workload (like adding double webinars and the leadership program), she takes something away, which is unlikely to happen. Plus, it would be nice if she would talk to me first before announcing to the board that I’m now in charge of these projects.”
- “That they quit and move on.”
What do you like most about your job?
A high number of respondents cited creativity and innovation as the best aspects of their work, and association event professionals said they enjoy working with members and being aligned with the organization’s purpose is satisfying. Other perks of the job: interactions with clients, partners, attendees, and other stakeholders; flexibility; travel; the satisfaction of seeing an event come to life; opportunities to creatively problem solve; learning new skills; and autonomy.
- “I like that I’m a subject matter expert and relied on by colleagues for my insight.”
- “I love the process of planning an event from beginning to end. Seeing it all come together is the best part.”
- “I love hotel sourcing and working with partners.”
- “Being able to make a difference in the world.”
- “The rush of the moment, the global overview of the event, and facilitating the organization of it with all the teams.”
- “Knowing that my work helps our community.”
- “Our CEO understands the value an experienced and competent event strategist bring to the association and is extremely hands-off with his management style.”
- “The capacity to work with a variety of stakeholders who are involved in the manifestation of an event. Being at the intersection of clients, sponsors, investors, destinations, associations, and countries that are looking to accomplish different goals at the same time.”
- “Leading, mentoring, strategizing, negotiating, relationship building, and driving non-dues revenue.”
- “Every day is a different day.”
- “I appreciate how my job values work/life balance. I am satisfied with how I am able to balance work responsibilities, be present for and support my family, and have the ability to take care of myself (physically and mentally) in between. I am more productive and I work harder because my job provides me with this flexibility.”
- “Our organization is a nonprofit that benefits young people. I love that we are contributing to the experiences of our world youth.”
- “Empowerment, recognition, excitement when at events, new ideas.”
What do you like least about your job?
Heavy workloads and being understaffed came up the most often. Other recurring complaints: poor leadership and management issues; a lack of support and appreciation; dissatisfaction with compensation and benefits; a lack of creativity; administrative burdens; short timelines and last-minute changes when planning events; interpersonal workplace challenges; stagnant career growth; financial constraints around budgets and having to do more with less money; and frustrations around inefficient processes and bureaucratic policies.
- “The assumption by leadership that one person should be able to coordinate, manage, plan, and develop content, speakers, logistics, contracts, staffing, software, CE applications, and do it at a now discounted salary without dedicated support staff.”
- “Everything has become more difficult post-pandemic. It’s more difficult to work with supplier partners, there are higher expectations for performance/recovery with internal stakeholders, and attendees want more, but want to pay less.”
- “I’m more concerned about what a looming recession could do to the industry again.”
- “The loss off workforce at hotels makes it harder to make sure catered events are properly staffed.”
- “Trying to prove, to internal stakeholders, my/my team’s value for the company.”
- “The lack of responses from vendors, and when they don’t read the details of the RFP issued.”
- “Company client has taken on carbon emissions initiative and is canceling meetings. Also, no international travel.”
- “I dislike when meetings and events get canceled due to changes in strategy and then I have to go back to my venue partners — I feel like I’m letting them down.”
- “Other duties as assigned.”