Conference & Event Planners (NOC 1226) may also be called:
- meeting planner
- convention co-ordinator
- festival organizer
- special events organizer
What Would I Do?
You manage all aspects of conferences, meetings, festivals, trade shows and other events.
Your duties can include:
- meet with trade / professional associations and other groups to promote and discuss conference, convention and trade show services
- meet with sponsors and organizing committees to plan events, establish and monitor budgets and review progress of events
- co-ordinate services for events, such as accommodation and transportation for participants, facilities, catering, signage, displays, translation, special needs requirements, audio-visual equipment, and security
- organize registration of participants, prepare programs and promotional material, and publicize events
- plan entertainment and social gatherings for participants
- ensure compliance with required by-laws
- negotiate contracts, approve suppliers’ invoices, maintain financial records, and prepare reports
- Career Cruising database (Profile for ‘Event Planner’)
Am I Suited For This Job?
You should be:
You should have:
- excellent social skills
- strong communication skills
- ability to multi-task and respond quickly to unexpected situations
- strong customer service skills
You often work long hours, including evenings and weekends. You may work from an office; however, much of the work is performed on-site at hotels, convention centres or other event locations.
Sources: WorkBC & Career Cruising
What Are The Wages And Benefits?
In British Columbia, the average median is $50,138.
In BC’s regions, you can expect to make:
Table from Job Bank Wage Report
Your earnings can vary widely, depending on experience, education, location, and whether you work full-time or part-time.
Some types of event planning pay more than others. Corporate event planners tend to earn more than those who plan events for private individuals.
Sources: WorkBC & Career Cruising
What Is The Job Outlook In BC?
British Columbia has become increasingly popular as a tourist destination and this will improve the demand for conference and event planners. New conference facilities (i.e. the Vancouver Convention Centre) are also increasing the capacity to host large events. Also, the business services sector is growing as more companies and organizations contract experts for meeting and conference planning.
However, competition for employment in this field will likely be strong due to the desirable nature of this work. The majority of job openings are expected to come from retirements.
Chart from WorkBC
Source: WorkBC Career Profile
How Do I Become a Conference & Event Planner?
Conference & event planners usually require:
- university degree or college diploma in marketing, tourism or hospitality administration
- several years of experience in hospitality, tourism, public relations or in a comparable position at a conference centre or hotel are usually required and *may* substitute formal education
Certification is not required to work as a conference & event planner in BC.
However, certification can provide better employment opportunities.
See for example:
- CMP – ‘Certified Meeting Professional’ designation awarded by Convention Industry Council
- CEM – ‘Certified In Exhibition Management’ awarded by CAEM (Canadian Association of Exposition Management)
For further information, see:
How Do I Find A Job?
Where would I work?
- tourism associations
- trade and professional associations
- convention and conference centres
- conference and event planning companies
- large hotels/resorts
- large companies that stage events for their staff or clients
- may also be self-employed
Finding Advertised Jobs
Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.
You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.
Online Job Postings
(job board for tourism and hospitality jobs in BC)
- Sport Information Research Centre, SIRC
(job board for sports related administration careers in Canada) search for ‘Events’
(search for ‘event planner’ or ‘conference planner’)
Also look for postings of ‘event planners/conference planners/event organizers’ in the ‘careers’ or ‘jobs’ section of websites for these industries:
- large hotels
- tourist destinations (e.g. Grouse Mountain, Whistler)
- conference centres (e.g. Vancouver Convention Centre, Anvil Centre, Whistler Convention Centre)
- large local sports teams (e.g. Vancouver Canucks)
- private clubs or golf & country clubs
Finding “Hidden Jobs”
Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.
Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers
You can use directories to produce lists of employers in this industry. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.
- Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners CanSPEP
[the ‘Advanced Search’ lets you limit your search to British Columbia, and focus on areas of specialty]
- Reference Canada
Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
In the top search box enter “Meeting” OR “Conference” OR “Events” and click LOOKUP.
Select the appropriate headings.
Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).
Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies
Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.
Networking and the Hidden Job Market:
When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.
Volunteering in Community Organizations and Recreation Centres
Many public community organizations and recreation centres sponsor or hold events – contact your local community organization to see if they are accepting volunteers.
You can start by looking for organizations in:
[contact information for community, government and social services organizations/agencies in BC]
For additional tips see:
Applying for a Job
In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience. Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.
For more information see:
Where Can This Job Lead?
Recent graduates usually find work as event coordinator assistants, junior meeting planners in a hotel and catering assistants.
If you have experience managing a wide range of activities you may be qualified to work as senior planner, team manager or director 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.
Source: WorkBC Career Profile
Where Can I Find More Information?
- Corporate Meetings Network (for Canadian corporate meeting planners)