Meetings

It’s a Great Year to Be a Meeting Planner

By Samantha Whitehorne / Jan 4, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Why meeting planning ranks as one of the best jobs and what else is in on the horizon for meetings in 2013.

Happy New Year! And if you’re an association meeting planner, it may be an even happier 2013 and beyond for you, thanks to U.S. News & World Report, which released its list of the 100 best jobs of 2013 late last month. And it’s good news all around for planners: “Meeting, Convention, & Event Planner” ranked 66 overall and, even better, was number 14 on its list of best business jobs.

According to the U.S. News article, which ranked the jobs based on a number of factors that included upward mobility and job satisfaction and security, job growth and salary are two of the reasons why meeting planning makes its list.

What new meeting trends do you think are on the horizon for 2013 and beyond?

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects meeting, convention, and event planner employment growth of 43.7 percent between 2010 and 2020, adding 31,300 more jobs,” wrote U.S. News. The Labor Department listed the median annual salary for meeting, convention, and event planners as $46,020 in 2010, while the best-paid 10 percent in the field made approximately $78,530. Under job satisfaction, U.S. News editors say that while planners have an above average stress level, the profession also has above average upward mobility and average flexibility.

Where meeting planners are highest-paid may be the most surprising finding: The metropolitan areas of Poughkeepsie, NY, Framingham, MA, and Lowell, MA, earn the top-three spots. But the Washington, DC, area, home to a large number of associations, is a close fourth.

And while predicted job growth in the industry for 2013 and beyond is exciting, so too are some of the ideas the Meetings Professional International Foundation released in its latest whitepaper related to its Future of Meetings series. This report, focused on meeting communication, asked 27 experts from outside the meetings industry how attendees will connect in the future and how planners can use technology on attendees’ mobile devices, including smartphones, to track participation in real time.

For example, in this article on MeetingsNet.com, author and technology theorist Dr. Michael Chorost, who was one of MPI’s experts, says, “I can imagine people giving their iPhones permission to share certain data subsets with meeting organizers—their stress levels, their degrees of alertness.” In other words, if planners could see attendees’ alertness levels decreasing on the spot, they could communicate that to presenters, and workshops, discussions, and presentations could be shifted or fine tuned in a matter of seconds. Putting aside privacy and security concerns for a minute, imagine how this could be a game-changer for the meetings industry.

What do you think makes association meeting planning a great career choice in 2013? Or what other meeting trends do you think are on the horizon for 2013 and beyond? Please share in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is deputy editor of Associations Now. More »

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