Event Management – a Stressful Career Choice?

Blog-Every-Day-in-November-with-RosaliliumWelcome to day six of Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN).  The topic today is National Stress Awareness Day.

A recent article by the Telegraph has revealed that almost half of Britons consider themselves stressed.  Stress is one of the most common conditions experienced by people in the UK today. It can contribute to serious physical illnesses, and be a cause for obesity. People going to work whilst suffering stress contribute to poor performance of businesses and services, and can be a contributor to poor care, errors, and disasters caused by lack of concentration. The financial cost to the UK has been estimated at £60 billion or about £1000 per man, woman and child (source: ISMA Press Release).

National Stress Awareness Day got us thinking about how well we cope with stress and whether a little bit of stress is actually a good thing in terms of encouraging peak performance at work?

We read with interest this blog post: the 10 most and least stressful jobs in 2013.  In the study to determine this they looked at 11 job requirements that contribute to stress including:

  • the amount of travel required
  • growth potential
  • deadlines
  • working in the public eye
  • competitiveness
  • physical demands
  • environment conditions
  • hazards encountered
  • risk to life
  • risk to other’s lives
  • and need to meet the public

The role of an Event Manager can be stressful at times in terms, particularly in terms of immoveable and numerous deadlines (the event dates and milestones within each event project), working with the public (members of the public can be trying on occasions!) and perhaps even physical demands (on conference and event days I walk for miles, plus unloading, lifting, etc).  Likewise depending on the project and the event there can be a lot of travelling required (we ran a conference in Germany in May) and the environmental conditions can be harsh (outdoor events and the English weather – need I say more?!).

Overall based on the stress indicators they have suggested it seems that Event Management is certainly not a job for the faint-hearted.  Plus of course, however well you plan for every eventuality it is inevitable that the unexpected sometimes happens, leaving you to make immediate decisions about the best course of action to take, often in a very public arena and then to communicate that to the attendees.

Furthermore I would also say that running your own business can be stressful at times, whatever the industry.

Don’t get me wrong I adore my job and running a SME and I couldn’t imagine doing anything different, however with this in mind I was wondering perhaps if Event Manager or MD of an Event Management Company might actually make the list!  Alas it wasn’t listed, although I feel that in some ways an Event Management role could be more stressful than a Public Relations Executive which comes in in 5th place.  The full list of the most stressful jobs is below.

Most Stressful Jobs of 2013:

  1. Enlisted military (stress score 84.72)
  2. Military General (stress score 65.54)
  3. Firefighter (stress score 60.45)
  4. Commercial airline pilot (stress score 60.28)
  5. Public relations executive (stress score 48.52)
  6. Senior corporate executive (stress score 47.46)
  7. Photojournalist (stress score 47.12)
  8. Newspaper reporter (stress score 46.75)
  9. Taxi driver (stress score 46.18)
  10. Police officer (stress score 45.60)

Are you surprised by the list at all?  Do you think a little bit of stress can be good for your work performance?  After a hard day what do you do to switch off?  We would welcome your thoughts below!


  1. Great article! Was quite shocked that Events Management wasn’t in there. A few years ago in a UK paper it was considered a career choice that lead to the most stress. Maybe as time and society has progressed the idea of managing events has glamorous labels attached to it which makes it appear like a less stressful career. I have been freelance in the industry for several years and I love it, it’s incredibly stressful but it’s a good driving stress and also very rewarding.

    • Hi Emily
      Wow, would love to read that article, interesting reading I bet! I agree it is a very rewarding career. And of course that is why people pay us, not only for our event management skills but also to ensure that we handle all the stress and take the weight from their shoulders!

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