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The decline of event degrees in the UK: impacts and industry response

The events industry in the UK is facing a significant challenge as the number of students enrolling in event management degrees has drastically declined. Over the last decade, the volume of students studying event degrees has reduced significantly. This drop in students is also mirrored in the decreasing cohort sizes at university in event specific courses; for instance, a once robust class of 300 students in 2014 at one university has dwindled to merely 80 students today.


What are the contributing factors to the decline of event degrees?

There are several factors that contribute to this negative trend…

The Impact of COVID-19: The big C word comes up a lot, but the global pandemic hit the events industry hard, leading to a visible decline in events and subsequently diminishing interest among prospective students. With the future of live events uncertain for a period, the appeal of pursuing a career in this sector waned.

Government Policies on International Students: New government regulations on study visas have made it more challenging for international students to study event management in the UK. This reduction in the pool of potential students has further exacerbated the decline.

Cost of University Fees: The rising cost of higher education has also played a role. The financial burden of university fees makes prospective students more cautious and selective about their chosen field of study, often opting for degrees perceived as offering more secure career prospects.

Lack of Recognition and Awareness: There is a notable lack of awareness and recognition of the events industry as a viable career path among younger students. Career advisors at the GCSE and A-level stages don’t often highlight event management as an option. In addition, there are fewer degree apprenticeships in this field compared to other sectors, and governmental job boards often do not acknowledge event management as a distinct career path. This lack of visibility and information significantly impacts students' decisions as well as not offering an alternative route to education.


Laura Sidhu, Senior Account Manager at Live Recruitment emphasises this issue: "There is very limited knowledge about events degrees and their existence! When speaking with careers tutors, it isn’t seen as a recognised career path."


How does this impact the events industry?

The decline in event degree applications is creating a talent shortage in the events industry. With fewer graduates entering the field, companies are finding it increasingly challenging to recruit skilled professionals. This shortage could hinder the industry's growth and its ability to innovate and deliver high-quality events.


The Power of Events Lead Partner

Live Recruitment has become a Lead Partner of The Power of Events (UK) which is a not-for-profit company established in 2022 to deliver a much-needed comprehensive platform that for the first time provides a showcase of the UK events industry.

For the very first time, it provides a one-stop showcase for the UK events industry, that allows everyone to explore all the elements that make up this diverse industry across the Four Nations. This platform maps out the seven core sectors and signposts to the four key industry communities – the multiple trade associations, the support organisations, industry media and UK universities working as research partners to support the data needs of the industry.

The Power of Events is a vital organisation which will add to the support and growth of the UK events industry.

James Walton, Founder of Live Recruitment commented “We are delighted to support The Power of Events as they continue to bring the industry together for the greater good.”


Live Recruitment X Leeds Beckett UK Centre of Events Management

In response to this challenge, Live Recruitment has partnered with Leeds Beckett University and the UK Centre of Events Management in a collaboration that aims to support and attract new talent by providing practical knowledge, expertise, and exposure to career pathways within the industry.

Laura Sidhu explains, "We are aiming to ensure that students are as well prepared as possible when they take the step into the professional working world by prepping them on things such as CV writing and interview techniques whilst also providing them with access to industry and market knowledge that they may not otherwise have been aware of."

In addition, this partnership is utilised to promote the degree during open days, helping to boost enrolment by showcasing the tangible benefits and career opportunities available to students.

The decline in event management degrees poses a significant challenge to the UK’s events industry. However, with targeted initiatives and industry partnerships, there is potential to reverse this trend and rebuild to an events industry standard that was around a decade ago.

By increasing awareness and providing practical support, the industry can attract and nurture new talent, ensuring a vibrant and innovative future for event management in the UK.