Shortage of Skilled Workers In The Event Industry

The event industry has had to cut back considerably in the last two years and many professionals have had to look elsewhere. In this interview, the VPLT, Association for Media and Event Technology, talks about the current situation on the labour market.

1. The event industry has had to cut back considerably in the last two years and many professionals had to look elsewhere. What is the current situation on the job market in the event industry?

The last two years have indeed been very difficult for the event industry. The measures to contain the pandemic have made it difficult for the industry to do businesses. This is also reflected in the labor market. Many employees have been on short-time work or have changed industries. In the comparison of the years 2019 and 2020 declining employment figures can be seen for the event industry as a whole.

2. How does the shortage of skilled workers affect the industry?

The problem of the shortage of skilled workers is clearly felt in the event industry. The VPLT represents manufacturers, service companies for media and event technology, personnel service providers and self-employed sole proprietors. The high number of self-employed people in the industry makes it difficult to assess the current situation accurately. In terms of employment subject to social security contributions, we have clearly seen an increasing number of vacant positions since 2015. At the same time, however, there is a trend towards greater employment in the area subject to social security contributions. It therefore appears that employees are either seeking greater social security coverage within the sector or outside the sector.

3. Can events, tours take place as planned?

The problem with the restrictions is that in recent years hardly anything could be planned. The measures are often announced far too late for events to actually be plannable. At the moment, the situation is looking a bit more positive for holding events. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that this will not change in fall. The German government must therefore prepare a special programme for the event industry now. The associations in the Forum Veranstaltungswirtschaft have drawn up proposals that are being discussed with the federal government right now. A general commitment by politicians to the future of the events industry would be beneficial, but planning security can only be provided by government funding if the worst comes to the worst.

4. In which areas is the shortage of skilled workers the greatest?

The question can be answered in different ways. As I said, we are particularly concerned with media and event technology. - And here we see a great need for skilled workers. There is clearly not enough young talent to compensate for the share of employees who are older. In particular, skilled workers in the narrower sense (i.e., those who have completed at least 2 years of training) are relatively underrepresented here. Women are also clearly in the minority here. In the training occupation of "event technology specialist," the Federal Employment Agency recorded a 16.5 percent decline in applicants in 2021 compared with the previous year. However, there is already a shortage of skilled workers on stages, in trade show construction and at theaters, and this shortage will continue to increase in the future.

5. Is it possible to gain a foothold in this industry as a lateral entrants?

Many current employees are actually lateral entrants. The training programme for event technology specialists itself only exists since 1998. It is possible to enter the industry as a lateral entrant. Work is even being done on this in European projects so that partial qualifications can be recognized.

6. Does one need special retraining for this?

At present, the path to a vocational qualification as an event technology specialist leads first through traditional dual training or by passing an “Externenprüfung”. The "Valikom" project, which is supported by the DIHK, is currently including the event technology specialist in its portfolio as a result of discussions with the VPLT. The project has developed and tested a procedure for assessing and certifying (validating) job-relevant competencies acquired outside the formal education system. At the end of the procedure, a certificate is issued by a chamber of commerce and industry attesting to the activities of a profession someone can.

7. What are the minimum requirements?

Interested people should have a specific technical interest and an affinity for technology, as well as, of course, the fun of events, enjoyment of varied workdays and a level of flexibility.

8. As a trainee, where can one turn to if one wants to start a training position in the event industry? Are there any special job exchanges?

The VPLT itself offers its own job exchange, the VPLT Jobmarket, which can also be accessed via the VPLT website (VPLT.Jobmarket). There, interested parties can find vacant training positions as well as employees can find new job offers.
In addition, eventmanager.de and Hogapage also offer similar overview pages.

9. As a trainer, can one apply for government subsidies for the training of apprentices?

Currently, companies providing training can apply for subsidies from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit as part of the "Securing Training Places" programme. This programme supports companies that either maintain or increase the number of apprenticeship positions during the pandemic, or that avoid short-time work for their apprentices, or that take over apprentices from another company.

Images: Pixabay (kpr2 & Pexels) 

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