6 Trends Set to Reshape Your Event Labor Strategy in 2024

2024 Meeting and Event Trends

The world of work is evolving at an unprecedented speed, and meeting and event teams aren’t immune to these changes. As we enter 2024, it’s important to stay ahead of the trends that will directly affect your strategy for sourcing meeting & event labor.

In this post, members of Plannernet’s leadership team weigh in on what future of work trends and tactics are important for successful meetings in 2024 and beyond.

  1. The Freelance Economy Will Continue to Grow

Sarah Robbins
Sarah RobbinsVP, Supplier Relations

This space has seen 89% growth since 2020 and shows no signs of slowing down, forecasting 45% growth by 2027 according to MBO Partners & Upwork. We’re seeing top industry talent transition from FTE to freelance in the spirit of flexibility and autonomy and while some industries are opting to stick with ‘traditional staffing models’, many others are embracing freelancers as a major ingredient to future-proof their event success. Either way, the future of work will continue to shift in this direction, and in an ever-evolving business landscape, blending freelancers with your full-time employees will become a key strategy to optimizing your meeting and event workforce.

2. Turn Challenges Into a Competitive Advantage with Contingent Labor

Daniel Cercone
Daniel CerconeVP, Strategic Account Management

Combine the expansion of the freelance economy with today’s economic uncertainties and it becomes clear as to why the world’s leading enterprises are shifting away from traditional workforce strategies and instead, leveraging a modern, future-proof solution like contingent labor.

There are many compelling reasons enterprises are reevaluating “business as usual”, but some key challenges are:

  • Event labor shortages
  • Short client lead times
  • Increased time & resources required to hire FTEs
  • Budget constraints
  • Business travel disruption
  • Lack of bandwidth & employee burnout

By extending their bandwidth with contingent labor, and with the support of Plannernet’s Managed Services, our clients are facing these challenges head on, turning uncertainties into opportunities.

3. Workforce Compliance Has Returned

Simone Lovell Stone
Simone Lovell StoneVP, Operations

More than ever, organizations are looking to maximize the value of event freelancers, but with that comes the increased risk of costly penalties if they aren’t engaged compliantly.

As regulations and standards continue to evolve, it’s essential for event teams to stay up to date to ensure workforce compliance. However, the complexity of this goes beyond just federal and state, being enacted down to the local city level as well, making this time consuming and cumbersome for internal teams to manage. This includes areas such as:

  • Worker Classification
  • Sourcing
  • Contracts
  • Onboarding
  • Payments, and more!

Workforce compliance will always be a moving target, and proactively monitoring and adhering to these policies is a massive undertaking, but with Plannernet’s rigorous monitoring, regular consultation and fully compliant business model, organizations can remove the weight of compliance off their shoulders and enjoy a frictionless freelancer engagement experience.

4. DEI & Sustainability Will Remain Top of Mind

Tiffany Dougherty
Tiffany DoughertySr. Director, Enterprise Solutions

Among today’s top priorities for meeting and event teams, achieving their DEI and sustainability goals remains high on the list. Areas such as accessibility and sustainable practices are reshaping the meeting landscape.

Looking ahead, companies that utilize local professionals to source their venues, plan their meetings and execute programs onsite, will significantly reduce carbon emissions and T&E for their events while streamlining the planning process and ensuring a high-quality experience for their attendees.

Additionally, utilizing freelancers enables organizations to tap into talent pools across the globe, broadening their workforce, building diverse event teams, and exposing new ways of thinking and problem-solving.

Leveraging an all-in-one solution like Plannernet enables companies to outsource this switch to local and build out a more diverse workforce for long-term success without having to recruit and vet event labor themselves.

5. AI Will Impact Event Talent Sourcing

Bruce Oliver
Bruce OliverSr. Director, Business Development

The evolution of AI is well underway and event teams must start planning how to tap into this new world and identify ways it can alleviate burdens from the sourcing process.

AI has remarkable potential and will undoubtedly streamline many tasks associated with sourcing event talent but relying solely on AI and algorithmic decision-making tools to match candidates based on your needs leaves room for bias, barriers to entry and missed opportunities for qualified event talent.

Finding a solution with a proper balance of artificial and human intelligence will ensure optimal success. This is important to keep in mind when comparing freelance marketplaces to managed service providers.

6. Focus on Skills, Not FTE Headcount

Katy Budnik
Katy BudnikDirector, Customer Success

As of 2024, the average tenure for a full-time-employee is just under 4 years. How, when, and where people want to work is rapidly shifting and meeting and event teams can no longer afford to only depend on their FTEs to cover their unique and ever-changing program needs. Not to mention, 30% of the industry’s workforce is expected to look for a new job in the next 12 months, according to the 2024 AMEX Global Meetings & Events Forecast.

In 2023, the average time to hire an FTE was 44 days, not including the resources required to onboard and train so, it’s no surprise we’re seeing event teams engage freelancers as needed, and to prevent overextending FTEs during times of peak volume.

Reviewing historical data from your meetings, identifying trends and any skill gaps that have previously plagued your success is a great first step. If you build a talent strategy around the skills needed to ensure workforce agility and meet fluctuating demand, it will likely point you down the future-proof path of a blended workforce made up of FTEs and freelance event professionals.

Final Thoughts

The future of the industry is extremely bright, but it’s ever-changing, so staying one step ahead is critical and requires paying attention to the trends shaping how work gets done. By focusing on the areas above, meeting and event teams can prepare for the future and remain competitive in this fast-paced environment. Keep these trends in mind and start preparing today for the changes that will undoubtedly come tomorrow.

Don’t wait any longer to take advantage of our flexible talent solution. Contact Plannernet today and let us help you unlock the full potential of your event workforce.

Take the first step towards an optimal event talent strategy

Take the first step towards an optimal event talent strategy

Talk to a Plannernet expert today!