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SOC it to them! Eventprofs on the road to greater recognition

Event professionals are a step closer to greater government recognition after the submission of proposed revisions to the draft Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes

The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) and the Institute of Event Management (IEM) submitted comments to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on revisions to the codes.

The SOC codes categorise jobs into general types for the purpose of collecting, calculating, analysing, and disseminating data. The codes cover all jobs in the national economy, including occupations in the public, private, and military sectors.

However, 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 – hence the need for greater clarity.

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 as follows:

3557: Event managers and organisers
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: “This is just a 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.”

Caroline Jackson, vice chair of BVEP, said: “We are really pleased 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.”

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