Why Even the Best Event Planners Quit

Skift Take

Whether it’s rival competitors poaching your staff, quitting the industry altogether or leaving to go solo, sometimes even the best event professionals quit and here’s why.

When it comes to any career, there are reasons you stay and work your way up and there are reasons employees leave. With the event industry being fast-paced and competitive it breeds a certain type of professional who can face many challenges, work quickly on their feet and have excellent problem-solving skills. The downside? It makes them more independent and very likely to go out on their own if not treated properly.

Of course you also weed out those who are not suitable for the position and you should bear in mind that event planning might not be their cup of tea, because it is definitely not suitable for everyone. While a lot is written about the characteristics of a great eventprof, some people forget to mention some of the harsh truths of event planning that can contribute to making them quit. But, the question is, what really prompts people to leave and is there anything you can do to make them stay?

Lack of Reward

Event professionals who enjoy their role will obviously feel some sense of reward but as an industry that can require a lot of travel, stress, working late and cause employees to get a little crazy from time to time job satisfaction is not always enough. That is not to say that eventprofs are always looking for bonuses or pay rises, sometimes their reward can come in the form of recognition and without this they can feel overlooked and underappreciated.

Feeling under appreciated can also translate into poor motivation and reduce productivity which very quickly spreads within a team and can affect the customer service that you provide. To combat this, ensuring praise and incentives keep employees motivated will help as well as providing a network to provide feedback when things have gone wrong. This provides a level of recognition and growth that helps professionals progress and gives them greater job satisfaction. See. It’s not always about the money.


Event professionals are just that, professionals and they don’t need to be hovered over and micromanaged because this can not only reduce productivity but it wastes time and actually increases the cost of the business because you have two employees doing the same job – it’s not cost effective.

Feeling as though they are constantly watched over makes anyone feel suffocated and it can be a fine line between giving guidelines and expectations but also giving space, responsibility and trust which earns you respect.


Burnout is common in high-stress and strict deadline roles such as event planning. It can create health issues, demotivation and lack of productivity. Essentially, it is a form of exhaustion but goes that step further and according to the Mayo Clinic can even have you losing confidence in yourself or doubting your own competence. Not surprising that it leads people to quit.

Contrary to popular belief, job burnout is not always associated with stress (even though it is definitely a factor) because it can also be caused by:

  • Lack of support and control
  • Poor work-life balance
  • The wrong career
  • Poor workplace politics with other team-members

Those with depression are more likely to suffer from burnout and will need more support, especially within the event industry.  

Poor Support

Sometimes it can take a village to plan, organize and manage an event so staff feeling as though they are lacking support is a surefire way to make them feel alone and go searching elsewhere. Developing a successful event team can make the workload more enjoyable, boost productivity and give the customer a better experience which reflects well on your business and is great for office moral and staff retention. Here are 5 tips to hire your dream event team.

Low Autonomy

Not being able to make the decisions and needing to check them beforehand can not only undermine an event professional but make them feel de-valued. Many organisations give titles to employees without the autonomy to back it up and this means that they are unable to do their job effectively. In the event industry, problem solving is a key element to success so a lack of power to make these necessary decisions slows everyone down and is inefficient.

Ensure that when giving promotions event staff have the room that they need to make the relevant decisions without constantly asking permission or seeking approval. Senior staff won’t last very long in the role if they don’t have this authorization.


It’s a competitive market out there and the best event professionals will be showcased and approached on many occasions, especially if they love what they do. In many instances they are offered bonuses, increased pay and incentives to switch company which can be a devastating blow if you have an effective team. While you may not be able to compete with larger firms and financial incentives you can reduce this from happening by encouraging company loyalty, properly rewarding and recognizing staff and making sure that pay scales are appropriate for the amount of work that is being done.

Management Overhauls

Managerial uncertainty within organisations can filter down to staff and make them more likely to preemptively look elsewhere. In corporate environments changes at the top, such as a new CEO, has a direct impact on the whole organisation including marketing vision, sector positioning and internal priorities. Big structural changes can be difficult to implement and “upset the apple cart”. Changes to planned events are not easy to make quickly and in-house event teams who feel forced into changing their event strategies, working routines and processes can feel uneasy. You also need to consider that in some cases, event professionals may disagree with the new changes and direction which could prompt them to leave if they feel powerless.

Ensure that when implementing larger organisational changes you discuss the effects and expectations of the new management team and listen to the opinions of your staff. Handling big changes sensitively can increase respect from employees and make them feel valued and heard. If staff are excited about the new opportunities ahead this will help the transition go much more smoothly, rather than have them looking for the exit.


Obviously the event industry is fast paced but for seasoned event planners or managers it can sometimes become very “samey”, especially if organizing many similar annual events throughout the year and if there is a lack of innovation and change. Feeling as though they are stuck in a rut can very quickly lead to life-altering decisions and cause staff to seek more exciting pastures.

Even though changing the type of contracts, projects or work you have currently probably isn’t an option, you can make things more interesting. By changing responsibilities and roles, offering team incentives, new targets or even just investing in something fun for the office you can battle against the mundane, because after all, those who have fun and enjoy their job are less likely to quit them.

Creative Restrictions

When there is a conflict of creative vision or direction it can quickly lead to a loss of staff, particularly in areas where event planners feel they have creative restrictions and are not allowed to follow their vision. This is usually linked to poor autonomy in an organisation and can drastically reduce motivation and efficiency within a team as event professionals do not feel they are being heard or getting satisfaction to achieve what they want.

By encouraging creativity and being willing to compromise can be great tools for staff retention in general but particularly avoiding eventprofs from feeling restricted or stifled.

Lack of Investment

Organisations that don’t invest in their employees will not be invested in either. Event planners, by nature are planning ahead, they will be looking at their long-term goals and aspirations via opportunities such as training courses, formal qualification chances and career progression options within the company. If ambitious eventprofs feel pigeon holed with no option to progress in the future they are more likely to spot this sooner and quit. Always allow progression opportunities whether it be management fast track, staff training courses or informal milestones that staff can reach to feel like they have more options to better themselves and a reason to stay.

Branching Out

Many event planners gain more confidence and decide that they would prefer to branch out on their own so they decide to quit larger firms and start their own businesses. This offers more flexibility over creative vision, hours and clients which can make work more interesting. If someone has this burning desire to be a self-starter this can be hard for an employer to keep them.

Unsuited to the Lifestyle

Sometimes people just can’t hack it as an event professional because of its fast-paced, demanding and high stress nature and the lifestyle that accompanies this. For example there can be plenty of travel involved, time away, as well as longer hours outside the usual 9-5. All these elements combined can prompt staff to quit.

The lifestyle can even get to experienced eventprofs who may be considering starting a family or have increased home life commitments which conflict with the lifestyle. Although you won’t be able to deal with everything and in some cases you need to accept that the event industry is not for everyone, you can encourage those to stay by offering flexible working hours, working from home opportunities or a job share/part-time role. We are in the age of the virtual event planner and the internet makes working from home a lot more accessible today.

In Conclusion

It is inevitable that you will lose some of the best event staff over time, which can be a huge blow if you have built a super team. It is important to take stock of some of the reasons that might compel event planners to leave, because there could be something you could do about it. We have offered some explanations behind what motivates event planners to quit but you should use these combined with our tips to reverse engineer solutions to avoid this happening as best you can. Ultimately though, event planning isn’t for everyone and telling the difference between who has what it takes and who doesn’t will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.