How Stressful is it Being an Event Manager?

How Stressful Is It Being an Event Manager?

9 min read
It’s official. Event Management is the 5th most stressful job. Ever.
There’s a reason your chest tightens, your hands shake and your thoughts race as you plan an event. A recent Forbes report found Event Management to be the 5th most stressful job in the world!

Relax already, because we’ve got some great tips on how to take the pressure down.

Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs

1. Enlisted Military Personnel
2. Firefighter
3. Airline Pilot
4. Police Officer
5. Event Coordinator
6. Newspaper Reporter
7. Senior Corporate Executive
8. Public Relations Executive
9. Taxi Driver
10. Broadcaster

* Source: Forbes “The 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2017”

In the report The 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2017 by Forbes, Event Management came out 5th, beaten only by enlisted military, firefighters, pilots and police, which are undoubtedly high pressure, high-risk careers.

These top four have something in common – there is serious risk of injury, even death. So we’re going to make the call that Event Management is the most stressful job that doesn’t include almost certain injury or death!

How stressful is it being an #EventProf? It's the 5th most #stressful #job in the world, just below #firefighters, #military personnel, #police and #pilots. Full report here Click To Tweet

And it’s interesting that Event Managers top even newspaper reporters and senior corporate execs.

How Do Event Managers Rate?

Let’s put it this way: Event Management scored 8 out of 11 for risk factors of stress in the report.

CareerCast provided data to Forbes who used eleven stress risk factors, of which Event Managers scored an impressive eight:

The 11 Stress Factors

1. Deadlines

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Big ones, little ones. So many deadlines. That’s Event Management in a nutshell.

2. Competition

The biggest competition for Event Managers is most likely YOURSELF. If you’re like most Event Managers, you’re always trying to outdo your last fabulous event. Because, well, self-motivated and dynamic you!

3. Career Growth Potential

Successful Event Mnagers are organised, efficient and self-motivated, and there’s plenty of scope for career advancement. Keeping your eye on the prize and competing for bigger and better roles can be a significant source of stress.

4. Travel

Whether it’s overseas, interstate or across the city you live in, transport takes time to organise and do. Travel time cuts into your working time and potentially your leisure time.

5. Physical Demands

The adrenaline rush of a fast-paced, deadline-driven role takes its toll, along with late nights working back and attending events. Sleep is both King and Queen, Prince and Princess. Along with the royal cousins and hangers-on… You get the point: anything that cuts into your sleep = tiredness = running on empty = stress.

6. Environmental Conditions

Life can be very stressful for an Event Manager, with meetings and interruptions causing havoc for your tight schedule. Every minute is precious!

7. Meeting the Public

As an Event Manager you’ll meet people from all walks of life, including suppliers, venue managers, speakers, MCs, entertainers and audience members. That’s a lot of different personalities to manage! Although it’s usually smooth sailing, the odd occasion might see you dealing with demanding talent or a difficult audience member.

8. Working in the Public Eye

All eyes on you, babe. If something goes wrong – and things can occur that are out of your control – you’re in the spotlight.

Luckily, Event Managers don’t qualify for the more critical, life-threatening risk-factors that our brave military, firies, police and pilots face:

9. Risk of Death or Grievous Injury
10. Hazards Encountered
11. Immediate Risk of Another’s Life
Is being an #EventProf the most stressful job that doesn't include risk of injury or death? We think so Click To Tweet

Still, 8/11 risk factors for Event Management is high. Yikes! Alternative career, anybody? Kidding. We’re passionate about what we do.

Sure, the pressure mounts at times, but there’s lots you can do to reduce the stress quotient.

Take the Pressure Down

“Take hold of the wheels and turn them around
Take the pressure down.”
John Farnham
Farnsey did it with his retirement, so why not the rest of us? Turn those wheels around.

Here’s how to take control and get smart about stress minimisation!

Smart Productivity Tools

Save time and headaches with smart templates designed specifically for Event Managers. The following tools are perfect for the efficiency-seeking, stress-busting Event Management professional:

Event Planner
A customisable template pre-loaded with all tasks for different types of events. We think it’s so good you’ll probably never want to use another.

Event Run Sheet
Every Event Manager needs a run sheet to keep everything and everyone on track at the actual event. Not just any old run sheet; this one is the creme de la creme and it’s a cinch to use.

Event Budget Template
This clever worksheet saves big chunks of time, because it’s pre-loaded with all the expense items you’ll need, plus you can add more if required. It automatically calculates subtotals so you can see at a glance how the budget is tracking, or if you’re going over budget in any category.

Contingency Planning

Smart productivity tools prompt excellent planning, and go a long way to help you avoid the dreaded boo-boo disaster that can spring from even the smallest oversight. Nonetheless, things can and do go wrong at events, and often it’s impossible to avoid. The best thing you can do is be prepared with contingency plans. Knowing you’ve thought through possible hiccups will help you stay calm and focused on a solution.

Examples of contingency planning:

If something happens to your keynote speaker at the last minute and they have to pull out, you know to call your fabulous speaker bureau to help find a suitable replacement. Be sure to have all contacts ready in your phone in case you need them.

When technology goes belly up, no worries! Because you hired a trusted AV technician you can rely on and they’re on the case straight away.

Plan ahead with your MC if there’s likely to be some heated discussion around contentious issues. Flag the areas that may inflame, so that they can be on alert to interject smoothly if needed.

Stay Calm

Always remind yourself to stay calm when your personal stressometer hits the danger level. It’s hard to think clearly when your mind is racing! Mega stress can happen at any time during the lead up to the event when you’re knee-deep in deadlines, or on event night.

Discover practical tips on managing nerves, developed for Event Managers like you.


It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Work at building long-term partnerships with trusted suppliers you can rely on. Good partners will always be happy to support you, and they too have a vested interest in your events being successful.

For example…

A great Speaker Bureau takes all the hard yards out of sourcing, recommending, booking and briefing your talent. They do all the work behind the scenes, which saves you a massive amount of time. They’ll even come on the night to manage talent for bigger events, leaving you to focus on other essential tasks. Rely on their expert services with confidence that it won’t affect your budget, because their fees are actually charged back to the speaker, MC or other talent they are representing.

Get in the habit of delegating to internal colleagues too. Perhaps you have a marketing department who can assist with theming ideas and provide agency contacts for designing invitations.

Finance colleagues can be a great support for budgeting questions (I need more money, please!!) and you might be able to rope in some of your colleagues to come along on the night and lend a hand with set-up and packing away. In summary, don’t try to DIY everything!

Mentors & Resources

Use your networks to build relationships with experienced events professionals, and even check in with a mentor from time to time. Pick their brains about handle stressful tasks and keeping the pressure down, and you’ll no doubt learn tricks and feel nicely reassured that you’re doing a fabulous job.

Follow Event Management blogs for more ideas about building skills, growing confidence and lowering stress.

Take the Pressure Down, and Keep it Down

Event Management is undoubtedly a high pressure job. It’s hardly surprising that we came in at No. 5 on the Most Stressful Jobs list. The stress is highest when things start to feel out of control: lack of time, fear of missed deadlines, little oversights and unforeseeable events are the main culprits.

The secret to keeping the pressure down is staying in control, grabbing that wheel and turning it around. You’re in the driver’s seat and keep reminding yourself, “you’ve so got this!”

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About the Author

Gav George

When his school music teacher loaned him a cassette tape (yes, he's that old) of a fusion band, Gav entered the jazz world after years of classical music training. He was lucky enough to play with some of the greatest living jazz musicians and toured key festivals. Then Enhance founder Alison Clarke called on Gav to work on the company's marketing. This led him to his new passion of… marketing! Gav oversees Enhance's marketing initiatives, gets a kick out of connecting with clients and unearthing new talent. Gav still has that cassette tape, so if his music teacher reads this, please get in touch so he can return it.

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Comments 2

  1. Wow Gav — you really nailed this! Most people have no idea how much goes into planning events; they think we just call the hotel and tell them we are coming and our job is done. I appreciate the work you put into your article and the tips on how to deal with stress. Great job!!

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