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Conference and exhibition manager

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

Annual Salary

£17,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; attending events or appointments

2.9%
Future employment

There will be 2.9% more Conference and exhibition manager jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

You may:

  • publicise events
  • book venues, equipment and visiting speakers
  • oversee the design and printing of tickets, posters and publicity material
  • plan the running order of events
  • supervise and pay exhibition designers and caterers
  • work closely with venue staff
  • handle enquiries
  • sell stand space to exhibitors
  • arrange sponsorship

Working environment

You could work in an office, at a client's business or at a venue.

Your working environment may be physically active and you may spend nights away from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in events management or hospitality management, 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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could do a college course, for example:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Event Planning
  • Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Event Management
  • Level 3 Diploma in Live Events and Promotion

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

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.

Volunteering and work experience

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.

More information

Career tips

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.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in conferences, exhibitions and events from the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers.

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You could work for an events management company, exhibition venue or marketing department of a large organisation. With experience, you could take on bigger events and move into management.

You could also set up your own consultancy.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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