Event managers plan, organise, promote and run events, conferences and functions for a variety of organisations, communities, groups and individuals.
New event managers usually earn
$37K-$45K per year
Event managers with three or more years' experience usually earn
$46K-$65K per year
Pay for event managers varies depending on experience and employer. New event managers often start out as event assistants or event co-ordinators.
- New event managers can expect to earn $37,000 to $45,000 a year, or more.
- Event managers with three or more years' experience might earn $46,000 to $55,000, or more.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Event managers may do some or all of the following:
- develop concepts for an event
- work closely with clients, contractors, staff and volunteers
- create plans and documentation for the event
- train volunteers
- work out and manage a budget for the event
- book the venue or venues, and event equipment
- promote and market the event to media and relevant target groups
- oversee the running of the event
- deal with enquiries about the event
- organise funding, sponsorship and ticketing for the event
- evaluate the event and process.
Skills and knowledge
Event managers need to have:
- high level of written, verbal and non-verbal communication skills
- ability to network confidently
- good knowledge and understanding of social media
- knowledge of the venues, contractors and suppliers used by the events industry
- risk management skills, and knowledge of relevant health and safety requirements
- knowledge of the entertainment and hospitality industries
- skill in managing finances, budgets and large groups of people.
- may work regular business hours, but may also work weekends or evenings and unsocial hours
- usually work in offices and wherever events are held – this can include all types of indoor and outdoor venues and facilities
- may travel to events throughout New Zealand.
What's the job really like?
The chance to do cool things
"I've done some pretty cool stuff – everything from putting on a car-racing challenge in a Mexican desert, to organising a private circus in the Bay of Islands."
Greg Norris is the founder, director and hands-on event manager of a company specialising in corporate team-building events, annual conferences, galas and award ceremonies.
An early interest in organising events
"I was pretty hopeless at school, but was on heaps of committees and played a lot of sport. I liked organising social things for people and put on my first event – a music festival in my home town – when I was 16.
"Then about seven years ago my business partner and I put on a one-off team-building event that turned out to be really successful, and it all kind of grew from there."
Keeping up the wow factor in his work
"One of the most challenging things is maintaining repeat business by continuing to wow clients the third, fourth and fifth time. Some companies have big reputations for doing amazing things. So we have to live up to these expectations by continuing to surprise people."
Watch the video above to find out about being a film festival events manager - 3.08 mins
Tania: Well the part of it ah, pretty much anything that needs doing Libby passes on to me I will do but concentrating this year mostly on the ticketing, getting our ticketing up and running. Liaison with the schools, with the community, umm, volunteers, volunteers, this is our first year of using the volunteer system and so co-ordinating that, so we can find out what roles we actually need volunteers for.
Tania: It’s been a lot more than last year, during festival week probably from about five in the morning through til tennish at night by the time I clear emails again, and the lead up to the festival, there’s just been weeks of it really.
Tania: I got involved, well, my husband is Libby’s cousin and a couple of years ago, a few years now she made a little film out on our marae called ‘The Lawnmower Men of Kapu’. And then got taken to the Wairoa Film Festival, so we went to Wairoa, Pat and I and a couple of friends and that was our first experience of an international film, well any film festival. So we spent the time up there and came back and said that was so neat, getting to see this especially short films that we don’t see we should have one in Otaki. In the meantime Libby is doing a lot of travelling overseas and they’re saying to her ‘When is New Zealand going to have an indigenous film festival?’
Tania: As your kids grow up you participate in all sorts of things. I used to be involved with horse shows years ago when I was young, so you know the ins and outs of various things that need to be done, but one thing that helped us or helped me tremendously was we were invited over to the Imaginative Film Festival in Canada last year. Jason the executive director he said ‘Look if you guys can get here we’ll look after you’ and they gave us access. They gave us access to the films, we could talk to people, we could just get the whole feel of it, we were able to go along to various meetings there’s quite a lot of meetings that go on while they’re there, meet up with people, talk and find out that way, so that helped tremendously for this year.
Tania: I think it’s enthusiasm, time, dedication, just don’t expect to get a lot of money out of it cos there’s not, yeah, just, communication is the biggest thing, which is really what filmmaking is about isn’t it. And dedication and passion, at my age I’ve discovered something new that I’m, I’m loving.
To become an event manager, you need prior experience in running events and/or a relevant qualification. There are a variety of training and study options, such as:
- on-the-job training and study towards a tertiary qualification, such as the National Certificate or National Diploma in Tourism Conventions and Incentives (Levels 4 and 5)
- a graduate diploma in event management (Level 7)
- a degree in applied management (with a major in event management), marketing, tourism and hospitality, or communications.
Volunteering at events is a good way of getting experience in event management.
- ServiceIQ website - information about travel and tourism qualifications
- Volunteering New Zealand website - find out about volunteering in New Zealand
There are no specific secondary educational requirements, but useful subjects include English, maths, economics, accounting and business studies.
Event managers need to be:
- creative, imaginative and innovative
- confident, enthusiastic and motivated
- able to pay attention to detail, while working to strict deadlines
- adaptable, and good at managing pressure
- good at negotiating and public relations
- excellent at planning, organising and decision-making.
Useful experience for event managers includes:
- public relations and marketing work
- media or communications work
- work in the hospitality, tourism or outdoor education industries
- theatre/music/film work
- project management and administration work.
Event managers need to be professionally presented. They should also be reasonably fit, as they may assist in setting up and running events.
Membership of the New Zealand Events Association (NZEA) is useful.
Find out more about training
- NZ Events Association (NZEA)
- 027 467 4564 - firstname.lastname@example.org - nzea.co
- 0800 863 693 - email@example.com - www.serviceiq.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
A 2013 Wellington-based study showed that more than two-thirds of Diploma of Event Management graduates looking for work secured an events-based job within six months of graduating.
Blend of skills and events management qualifications helps with getting work
Your chances of securing a job are best if you:
- have hands-on, practical experience
- have a tertiary qualification related to event management
- have a mix of event management, public relations and marketing skills
Training placements and voluntary work can lead to a job
Event management graduates often gain entry-level jobs by:
- getting ongoing work at organisations they complete their training placements with
- doing volunteer work at events.
Types of employers varied
Event managers can work on short-term projects or be permanent employees. They may work for:
- event management and conference management companies
- large corporate organisations
- local government bodies such as city and district councils
- charities and not-for-profit organisations
- sporting organisations
- educational institutions such as universities.
Some event managers are self-employed.
- Grima, J, events management lecturer, WelTec, Careers New Zealand interview, January 2015.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2011 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
- ServiceIQ, Careers New Zealand interview, December 2014.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Most event managers work up from the positions of event assistant and event co-ordinator.
Event managers may progress to start up their own businesses, or work as directors of event management companies.
They may also move into:
- venue management
- charity or not-for-profit management
- event marketing
- project management.
In some larger event management companies there are opportunities to specialise in areas such as:
- event logistics
- event fundraising and sponsorship
- event marketing and communications
- event administration.
Some event managers specialise in organising weddings.
Last updated 4 December 2019