Think outside the (MICE) box. Natalie Crampton, founder and managing director at Dubai-based TEC points to how the Middle East has some of the world’s best airlines, such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad and Flydubai.
“We are looking at how we take talent from elsewhere, such as the airline sector: those who are at the end of their flying career or who for personal reasons want to step out of flying and who want to change that lifestyle,” she says.
“They are usually extremely well trained in customer service and client experience, so we are focusing on how we take all those skills and transfer them to the event industry. We are looking at creating a training programme precisely for cabin crew, to enable them to move into the events industry.”
Offer training, mentoring and regular ‘check-ups’. Jack Morton says the exponential rise in surplus demand for events across multiple industries in Asia Pacific post-Covid has prompted the agency to invest in training and development programmes for employees, helping them acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for more advanced roles.
“Additionally, some event companies are also looking to automation and technology to fill the gap in labour, for example by using software to manage event logistics,” says llma Afzal, strategy director at Jack Morton Worldwide.
It’s important to have regular check-ins with employees to understand their career goals, and the support they need in achieving these, through initiatives such as internal mentorships.
Petrina Goh, regional commercial director, SEA & Hong Kong at CWT Meetings & Events, suggests providing internal cross-border training sessions where possible, enabling employees to gain exposure to international working cultures, particularly now that borders have reopened worldwide.
“They will be more committed to working and developing their careers in the events industry if they are passionate about their work and see opportunities for growth,” she says.
Develop industry and educational partnerships. Another avenue Jack Morton says it is hoping to explore this year is forming partnerships with educational institutions or providing internships and apprenticeships for students studying event management, to ensure a steady flow of new and motivated talent into the industry.