Taking Off With The Handbrake On

For two years, the entire event industry was paralyzed by the Corona pandemic. Now things can finally get going again, and people are also looking forward to the real events that can now take place again throughout Germany.

Meanwhile, however, the event industry is facing new problems. The difficult general conditions are making the comeback even more difficult. There are shortages of materials, supply chains are disrupted and prices are rising due to the cost of sustainability and digitization.

Another issue that has had an aggravating effect on the industry is the shortage of skilled workers, caused by the pandemic.

Hot summer of concerts

This summer, after two cancelled festival summers, new events are finally starting again. Events can be made up, new events are taking place. For example, some big festivals were booked out immediately and deliver very successfully. Other big events were sold out within a few hours.

The situation is different for events on a smaller scale. Theaters and clubs are still falling far short of their expectations in terms of attendance. Visitors still have tickets that could not be redeemed during the pandemic, while others are avoiding buying concert tickets due to the increased cost of living. In addition, there are older visitors who are avoiding events for fear of infection.

Image source: unsplash / Paolo Chiabrando


Another challenge is the sometimes postponed and new events. These now often run in parallel, and numerous venues are overcrowded. As a result, many companies no longer accept projects or orders at all. Customers hesitate before making binding bookings for personnel or equipment.

But the trade show industry is also looking ahead with confidence, with the Hannover Messe taking place for the first time in two years. However, travel restrictions due to Corona continue to make it difficult for foreign visitors to attend trade shows. Exhibitors and visitors alike are unable to attend the shows.

Busy - but no staff

Probably the biggest problem facing the events industry, however, is the lack of personnel. This trend is likely to worsen in the coming years. The labor force in Germany is shrinking right now. In addition, short-time work and lockdowns have caused many companies to lose their employees to other employers in crisis-resistant industries such as logistics, delivery services or test centers.

Even before the pandemic, the industry was complaining about a shortage of trained specialists.

"However, the high proportion of self-employed people in event technology makes it difficult to assess bottlenecks in concrete terms," says Laura van Haperen, head of education and legal affairs at the VPLT.

After the two years of complete standstill, auxiliary staff are now additionally hardly or more difficult to find and the increase in the minimum wage took place in parallel.

With the central Corona aids went marginally employed with mini job and self-employed ones often empty out. The latter often retrain as specialists. They return to their former professions, undergo retraining and start up again elsewhere.

Companies expect a staff shortage of 30 to 40 percent. This means that one in three people has probably left the event industry.

There is also a shortage of young talent: "The number of apprentices training as event technology specialists is declining," says van Haperen. "Since 2020, the number of new apprentices has dropped by about 35 percent compared to previous years."

Personnel are lacking in all areas right now: There are too few sound and lighting technicians, security personnel, event managers, stagehands for set-up and dismantling at stages or at trade fairs, caterers, helpers at festivals, riggers have reoriented themselves or some employees are only available part-time. So it can happen that staff has to be recruited from far away. Costs for overnight stays, travel expenses and catering are added.

Many existing employees need to be trained and reintegrated. The continuing high level of sick leave among skilled personnel is doing the rest.

Image source: unsplasch / Muneeb Syed

Material shortages and supply chain problems

The Corona pandemic has had a massive impact on society in this country. But internationally, the crisis has also shown how unstable economic processes are around the world.

The industry firmly expects that supply problems will not be solved this year. For example, it is expected that the shortage of materials will accompany us into 2023.

For example, not only car manufacturers are affected by the global chip shortage; event technology manufacturers are also dependent on it, just as they are on displays. There is also a shortage of construction materials for stage technology and equipment such as tents, fencing, and


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