Have you considered a career in the exhibition industry?

Posted: September 26, 2022

The exhibition industry is a fascinating one; requiring a collective of skilled individuals across a wide array of fields, to work together to bring showcase events to fruition. If the core values of your degree celebrate artistry, collaboration, business, and marketing, then a career in the exhibition industry might just be the next exciting step you didn’t know you wanted to take!

What is the exhibition industry?
Exhibitions are some of the most interesting spaces in the commercial world; a place where hundreds of individuals, businesses, and companies, group together to show off their latest ventures. For almost every industry imaginable, there will be exhibitions, events, trade shows, and more – all designed to bring like-minded individuals and entities together, to see the latest developments in their respective worlds.

The scale of the exhibitions industry
You will likely have been to some form of exhibition or event at some point in your life. If you haven’t, you can expect to see huge-scale convention centres and outdoor venues, with every square inch lined with engaging speakers, colourful stands, and eye-catching displays; each one focusing on something exciting and new to share.

But these impressive sights don’t quite do justice to the scale of the exhibitions industry, and the many cogs that make these exhibitions and events tick. For any kind of exhibition or event to run smoothly, there are myriad factors that need to fall into place.

From the managers and directors running the event before, during, and after, the individuals responsible for the design and build of all the display stands and set pieces, to those in charge of all the marketing and promotion. The exhibitions industry isn’t simply comprised of what you see on the day, but also large groups of talented individuals making sure everything works from behind the scenes.

The events industry is worth over£40 billion  to the UK economy so it is a significant sector which is growing year by year. It employs 570,000 people and accounts for 35% of the UK visitor economy. Over 10,000 venues in the UK host 1.3million of business events annually.

Your career in the exhibitions industry
Noting this perhaps larger than the expected scale of the exhibitions industry, you might be wondering what a career in the industry would look like for you.

The exhibitions industry makes for a very exciting career pathway, for graduates with a wide range of skills and experiences.

Common degrees that lead nicely into a career in this industry include:

  • Marketing and PR
  • 3D Design and Visualisation ( Product design and Industrial Design)
  • Photography and Videography
  • Graphic Design
  • Project Management
  • Business, Accounting and Finance
  • Production Management
  • Events management

Working on these events, exhibitions, and trade shows is a great fit for creatives. If you come from a degree that’s dedicated to the arts; whether it be in areas such as 3D and Digital Design, Graphic Design, Photography, Videography, and more. You will find ample opportunity in the exhibition industry for you to flex your creative muscles and create eye-catching designs for businesses that will be seen by hundreds, if not thousands of people! Beth Jones, a designer with leading exhibition stand manufacturer Quadrant2Design  had this to say about a career in the exhibitions industry:

“As a graduate 3D Designer from Bournemouth Uni, the exhibitions industry has been a great fit for me and my skills. There’s never a dull moment on the job, and I get to work day-to-day with loads of clients from different industries, helping to create unique stand structures and graphic concepts that are seen at events all over the UK and Europe.”

You also have the aforementioned management aspect of the exhibition industry, which makes for a perfect career pathway for graduates looking for roles in management positions.

The industry is a fast-paced one, requiring a high level of organisation, communication, critical thinking, and leadership.

The world of exhibitions and events is a challenging industry, but an incredibly rewarding one, and one where graduates looking for a position in finance, project, events, and production management will flourish.

Another important aspect of the exhibitions industry is the marketing side. Holding an event requires a great deal of expertise in key areas such as marketing and PR. Events need powerful marketing and promotion to succeed, and the industry represents a fantastic opportunity for graduate marketers to get their teeth into a dynamic and creative environment.

What can you expect from the exhibitions industry?
The main thing you can expect from pursuing a career in the exhibition industry is a richness of opportunities for learning, personal development, and growth. We have previously mentioned that the world of events stands still for no one; it is a very fast-paced industry, with no room for failure – no matter which facet of events you work in. It creates a challenging yet ultimately very rewarding environment, providing you with a new success story with every event you work on.

An event requires all of the component pieces to work together to function; all elements before, during, and after the event must come together correctly.

Working in this industry will help you to develop a perfectionist and punctual approach to work that will make you hugely valuable to any business in any industry.

Within this industry, you will also get to experience a hugely varied and exciting career that takes you too many different places. As a designer, manager, marketer, or accountant, you will be exposed to a wide variety of unique industries and individuals on a consistent basis. Every event you work on brings you the opportunity to forge brand new business connections and personal links with people all across the country, something which can be hugely beneficial in your future career development.

Is the exhibition industry right for you?
The world of exhibitions and events might not have been something you considered when starting your degree, but it is a pathway with an incredible amount of value and opportunity to share. Whether you’re a prospective designer, marketer, or project manager, we hope this article has provided some insight into what a career in the exhibitions industry can do for you, and what you can potentially bring to the industry with your skills!

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