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Considering

a Career in
Exhibitions
and Events?
Exhibitions and Events Mean Business

www.iaee.com

www.exhibitionindustryjobs.com
2015 IAEE All Rights Reserved

Exhibitions and Events Industry Careers


For a business sometimes called an invisible industry, exhibitions and events play an extraordinarily
large role in the global economy. Since the launch of the worlds first niche trade fair, which many believe
was the Leipzig (Germany) Book Fair in the middle 15th century, exhibitions and events have served as
remarkably reliable mirrors of the industries and market sectors they serve. The fundamental purpose of
exhibitions and events is to bring the buyer and seller together. Whether you are dealing in a corporate
or non-profit environment, or with a public event/consumer show, you will most likely have some kind of
product/service to offer, and people who are interested in it or people whose interest you want to attract.
Careers in the exhibitions and events industry can be simply placed into three categories:
Exhibition Organizer, Supplier/Contractor and Exhibitor.

Exhibition Organizer
Exhibition Organizers create, produce and manage the exhibition.

Exhibition
Organizer

Supplier/Contractor
Supplier is a term used for a company that provides products and services to
support the exhibition or event. Contractors that serve exhibitions and events
include convention centers and other exhibition venues, hotels, housing
and registration service providers, transportation companies, general
service contractors, technology providers, etc. Entry-level opportunities
include sales, account management and operations. Some common titles
include operations director/manager, account executive, exhibit service
manager and sales director/manager. Some industry professionals begin
their careers in the industry on the contractor/supplier side, gaining valuable
experience, and then move into a position as an exhibition organizer.

Contractor

Exhibitor

Exhibitor
Exhibitor is a term used for a company that exhibits at an exhibition or event. Common job titles often include the
words marketing/communications/advertising manager, specialist or administrator. These people, depending on
their position within the company, may manage trade show logistics and operations, handle the advertising, or
administer the public relations program for a few or a large number of events.

14 Market Sectors

>>Business Services
>>Consumer Goods
>>Discretionary Consumer
Services
>>Education
>>Food
>>Financial, Legal and Real Estate

>>Government
>>Building, Construction, Home
and Repair
>>Industrial/Heavy Machinery and
Finished Business Inputs
>>Communications and
Information Technology

>>Medical and Health Care


>>Raw Materials and Science
>>Sporting Goods, Travel and
Entertainment
>>Transportation

Considering A Career in Exhibitions and Events?

Function, Titles and Average Salaries


A career in the exhibitions and events industry can be rewarding, challenging and ever-changing. There
are opportunities for world travel and working with different people and cultures, which can be very
exciting. But it is certainly not a normal nine-to-five position as show organizers often work long hours in
advance of an event and at the show site, and it does not stop there.
Each year, organizers must reinvent their exhibitions and events to stay ahead of the competition and strategically
position their shows to grow. In his book, The World is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman points to technological advances
and the increased competitiveness of emerging markets. For the exhibitions and events industry, this means that
there will be ongoing opportunities for the industry and the people employed in it. As the saying goes, You are
only as good as your last show.

CEO & Other C-Levels


Title & Base Salary Average
CEO / Chief Executive Officer
President
Executive Vice President
Vice President
Other Compensation % of base
Benefits % of base

Sales (Salespeople, Exhibit Sales & Sponsorships)*


For-Profit Association
$232,667
$264,600
$212,700
$276,589
$128,000
$157,000
$135,200
$154,280
21%
17%
14%
16%

Show Management

Title & Base Salary Average


Exhibit Space Sales
Exhibit Sales Director
Commission Rate %
Exhibit Sales Manager
Commission Rate %
Exhibit Sales Representative
Commission Rate %

Title & Base Salary Average


For-Profit Association
Vice President, Exhibitions/Events $121,313
$171,952
Group Show Director
$98,947
$97,000
Show Director
$84,729
$88,924
Show Manager
$67,893
$64,816
Other Compensation % of base
13%
9%
Benefits % of base
15%
15%

Sponsorship Sales
Sponsorship Sales Director
Commission Rate %
Sponsorship Sales Manager
Commission Rate %
Sponsorship Sales Representative
Commission Rate %

Sales Management*

Operations

Title & Base Salary Average


Vice President, Sales
Group Sales Director
Commission % of Sales
Other Compensation % of base
Benefits % of base

For-Profit Association
$93,333
$137,875
$102,500
$80,233
8%
10%
7%
7%
10%
23%

For-Profit Association
$64,846
10%
$58,361
13%
$42,692
11%

$86,174
9%
$60,302
11%
$55,844
12%

$87,500
7%
$59,375
9%
$37,500
15%

$88,231
10%
$60,808
8%
$45,000
18%

Title & Base Salary Average


For-Profit Association
Vice President, Operations
$161,000
$150,000
Group Operations Director
$97,400
$99,333
Operations Director
$86,967
$88,447
Operations Manager
$61,350
$63,760
Other Compensation % of base
10%
8%
Benefits % of base
16%
17%

Marketing*
Title & Base Salary Average
For-Profit Association
Vice President, Marketing
$160,000
$134,857
Group Marketing Director
$106,250
$110,200
Marketing Director
$80,680
$88,543
Marketing Manager
$56,127
$60,750
Other Compensation % of base
8%
10%
Benefits % of base
15%
17%

*Average salary figures represent base salary

Considering A Career in Exhibitions and Events?

Skills Needed
Opportunities abound for individuals seeking a dynamic and challenging career in the exhibitions and events
industry. Employers are looking for individuals who are enthusiastic, creative, have a good attitude and are team
players. Having an entrepreneurial mindset, as well as the ability and interest to constantly look for opportunities
in the marketplace for the organization, is also helpful. By their very nature, all jobs in the exhibitions and events
industry require that the people employed in the industry:
>>be detail-oriented
>>have the ability to develop and follow timelines
>>be able to effectively manage multiple tasks
>>be customer-focused
>>be enthusiastic
>>have a good attitude and can-do spirit

>>be team-oriented
>>be a strategic planner
>>have knowledge in finance (i.e. budgeting,
invoicing and collecting)
>>have an understanding of social media marketing

Background and Education


The professional backgrounds of those involved in the

technologies, etc. Yet many come from completely

industry are as varied as the individuals themselves.

unrelated careers such as teaching and human

Some enter the industry through a direct route with

resources. It all depends on the needs of the company

a degree in convention management or hospitality.

doing the hiring and the position being filled. Usually,

Others enter through related fields such as sales,

these individuals start their careers at an entry-level

marketing/communications/public relations,

and progress with hands-on experience.

business administration, legal, information

Exhibitions and Events Industry Research


Exhibitions and events generate global commerce

universe, including business-to-business and consumer

and greatly impact the overall economy. The Center

exhibitions is tracked in another CEIR publication, The

for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), www.ceir.

Exhibition Industry Census. The 2010 Census reports

org, reports on the growth of business-to-business

that 14,451 exhibitions took place in Canada, Mexico

exhibitions in its annual CEIR Index. The CEIR Index

and the U.S. To be counted in the Census, an exhibition

provides exhibition industry performance across 14 key

needs to include at least 3,000 net square feet of paid

industry sectors. In the United States alone, according

exhibit space and 10 exhibiting companies. The 2015

to CEIR research, the business-to-business exhibition

Census will be released in December 2015.

industrys direct and indirect contribution to GDP in 2014


is $71.3 billion. The North American exhibition industry

Considering A Career in Exhibitions and Events?

How to Get Started


Exhibitionindustryjobs.com lists positions ranging from entry-level to experienced, mid-management
positions. IAEE also lists opportunities for internships to obtain hands-on experience and to help determine
if the exhibitions and events industry is a good fit for you. Finding a rewarding career in the exhibitions and
events industry is just like any other industry. Visit IAEEs Job Board at www.exhibitionindustryjobs.com.
IAEE has student membership rates and student chapters. Get involved and become engaged in the workings of
the association. Sixty to seventy percent of all jobs are found by networking.

How Current Professionals Started


I started my career in the exhibitions industry planning an annual conference for Special Olympics
and now manage an international associations exhibition that travels all over the world. The
exhibition industry is an exciting career and the opportunities for continuing education and
networking with colleagues through IAEE make it continuously energetic.

Kristin Barranger, CEM

Manager, Expositions & Communications


American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
After graduating college with a degree in management and marketing I had no idea where to start my
job search, but I knew my passion for people and sales would lead me to the proper company. A friend
of a friend offered me an interview with a supplier company named Freeman and away I went. Every
day is different with a new client, new event, new opportunity and even a new office. This industry is
the perfect spot for those of us who like innovation and variation! We see new technology, new trends
and old tricks every day. New opportunities are around every corner, the opportunities for growth are
never ending. You cant explain events, exhibitions and face-to-face, you have to experience it.

Brad Hobson, CEM

Business Development Manager


Freeman
Being a member of IAEE has introduced me to the big picture and impact of the exhibitions and events
industry, while helping me to do my job better and bring back new ideas to my own organization. The
educational opportunities and participation on various committees have given me the confidence and
skills needed to become a leader. And most importantly, I know that wherever my career in the industry
takes me, the friends that I have made through IAEE will be there to help me succeed.

Rebecca Orens, CEM, Past Chair, IAEE Young Professionals Committee


Senior Specialist, Exhibits
Society for Human Resource Management

The amount of experience and industry knowledge found at an average IAEE meeting is almost
staggering. Im fortunate to have a great group of resources, and most importantly friends that Ive
gained through my time as a member.

Alex Land

Sales Executive, Eastern Region Trade Show Corporate & Association


Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority

Considering A Career in Exhibitions and Events?

Apply for a Student Membership Today!


STUDENT MEMBERSHIP
APPLICATION
The International Association of Exhibitions and Events offers student memberships to any individual who is engaged, full or part time, in a
program at a college or university approved by the IAEE Board of Directors. Student members are eligible to enjoy all IAEE benefits; however,
their status is non-voting.
1. Complete the membership application.
Student Name
Current Mailing Address

City/State/Zip/Country

Permanent Mailing Address

City/State/Zip/Country

Telephone
E-mail

Twitter

Name of College/University

Anticipated Graduation Date

2. Calculate Your Dues*

Check# __________________________________________

Student Dues $35*________________________________________

Wire transfers: add US$25 fee for bank charges.


Fax this application to confirm transaction. Wiring instructions:
Bank: J.P. Morgan Chase Bank
Account: 1882720590
Swift: CHASUS33
ABA: 021000021

Other/Wire Transfer Fee ($25) ________________________________


Student Promotional Code __________________________________
Total Dues ______________________________________________

4. Return application, official course schedule and payment via:

IAEE Membership Dues are non-refundable.

Fax: +1 (972) 458-8119

3. Select a Payment Option

Mail: 12700 Park Central Dr., Ste. 308, Dallas, TX 75251 USA

All payments are to be made in U.S. Dollars. Please make checks and wire
transfers payable to Intl Assoc of Exhibitions and Events.

E-mail: membership@iaee.com

5. Questions?

IAEE Membership Dues can be paid by Visa, Master Card, American Express,
Discover, Wire Transfer or Check.
Visa

Master Card

AMEX

Contact IAEE at +1 (972) 458-8002, ext 109, 116, 110 or e-mail


membership@iaee.com.

IAEE

Discover

Card# _________________________ Expire Date ______________


Name on Card ___________________________________________

works for you!

Authorized Signature ______________________________________

* The CEIR Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to ensuring the success of the exhibitions and events industry as the premiere marketing medium by supporting
research, promotion and education. The money raised has helped fund multiple education programs, and research specifically designed to promote the advancement of the
industry and educate future industry leaders. Make your contribution today to support the critical research that CEIR provides: http://www.ceir.org/foundation.
** 2% of your dues is not deductible for federal income tax purposes because it is attributable to lobbying. The balance of the dues paid to IAEE are not deductible as
charitable contributions, but may be deductible as business expenses. Check with your tax adviser.
The information you provide is held in a database. Sometimes your mailing address may be made available to external companies for marketing purposes. If you do not wish
your details to be used for this purpose, please write or fax us your request.

International Association of Exhibitions and Events


12700 Park Central Drive, Ste. 308 Dallas, TX 75251 USA +1 (972) 458-8002 phone +1 (972) 458-8119 fax membership@iaee.com www.iaee.com

Online application link: http://www.iaee.com/membership/student-member-application

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Considering A Career in Exhibitions and Events?

nd

WHAT:

WHEN:

The Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation


was created in 1975 to provide a professional designation
for individuals in the exhibitions and events industry. To
earn the designation, participants must complete a ninepart program within three years. Recertification is required
every three years after the initial program is completed to
maintain the certification.

Classes required to obtain the certification are available


four times per year (twice on-location and twice online).

WHO:

HOW:

The International Association of Exhibitions and EventsTM


(IAEE) offers the designation. IAEE provides leadership,
service, education and benefits to professionals in the
exhibitions and events industry.

WHERE:

The designation is attainable through classes that are


offered online and on-location.

To begin the CEM Learning Program, new candidates


must have three years of full-time experience in the
exhibitions and events industry. Documentation
of experience is submitted through a Work History
Verification form prior to registering for the first course.

WHY:

The CEM designation was formed to raise professional


standards and is recognized throughout the industry as
the premier mark of professional achievement.

About IAEE

Young Professional Information

Vision: IAEE will promote and lead the exhibitions and


events industry through innovation, thought-provoking
leadership and education and by generating awareness
of the value of exhibitions and events.

IAEE offers the ability to collaborate with other young


professionals through involvement with regional chapter
activities and IAEEs international committee efforts.
Individuals engage through volunteer efforts with local
chapter leadership positions and foster relationships
through local community networking to build a platform
for further advancement with your career.

Organized in 1928 as the National Association of Exposition


Managers to represent the interests of trade show
and exposition mangers, the International Association
of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) is today the leading
association for the global exhibition industry. Today IAEE
represents more than 9,000 individuals in 51 countries who
conduct and support exhibitions around the world.

Mission: IAEE globally promotes the unique value of


exhibitions and events and is the principal resource
for those who plan, produce and service the industry.

Interested in Learning More?


Visit www.iaee.com TODAY!

As a young professional starting your career in the


exhibitions and events industry, IAEE provides a strong
sense of community, leadership and professionalism.
Our goal as an organization is to provide quality
educational programs, resources and opportunities to
ensure the next generation of leaders will be ready to
take over as their boomer bosses retire.

Through IAEEs mentoring program, young professionals


gain insight into the experiences and skill set of some
of the industrys leading professionals. Pair up with
a seasoned professional to build your knowledge and
network with industry experts.

Questions regarding membership?


membership@iaee.com

Considering A Career in Exhibitions and Events?