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Government agrees to change event manager job code

by Martin Fullard

The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) and the Institute of Event Management (IEM) have submitted comments to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) with proposed revisions and additions to their SOC2020 draft.

The Standard Occupational Classification Codes is the system that categorises jobs into general types for the purpose of collecting, calculating, analysing, and disseminating data. The SOC covers all jobs in the national economy, including occupations in the public, private, and military sectors.

This should not be confused with Standardised Industrial Classification (SIC) codes, which are used to determine a business’ operating activities.

As reported in the BVEP’s UK Events Industry Report, the jobs undertaken by those in the events industry are scattered, hidden and non-existent in the existing SOC codes.

As part of the consultation process by the ONS on SOC extension codes, it was requested that the code 3557 ‘Conference and Exhibition Organisers and Managers’ be changed to ‘Event Managers’. As this level was not part of the consultation it was thought unlikely that this would be approved. The ONS have however agreed to change the new SOC2020 codes so that 3557 is now entitled ‘Events Managers and Organisers’.

All the new codes are available to download on the ONS website.

Updated codes

3557: Event managers and organisers
SOC-EXT2020 SOC-EXT2020 Unit Group Title
3557/01 Conference managers and organisers
3557/02 Exhibition managers and organisers
3557/03 Festival managers and organisers
3557/04 Hospitality managers
3557/05 Wedding planners and organisers
3557/99 Conference and exhibition managers and organisers n.e.c.

Susan Spibey, executive board chair of IEM, said it was the first step towards official recognition of the sector. “There is still much work to do as this does not cover the main SOC Code work neither SIC Codes which are used by businesses to register at Companies House. Again, events does not exist on the SIC Code framework,” she said.

Caroline Jackson, vice chair of BVEP and chair of the Skills & Talent Working Group said it was pleasing that the ONS, and the bodies involved in deciding on the new SOC extension codes, have recognised the need for the generic title of ‘events’.

“Once this has been published, it will be up to employers and researchers to ensure that those codes directly related to events are used. For too long the valuable events workforce has gone unrecognised and the pandemic has highlighted the need for official figures that the Government accepts,” Jackson noted.

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