Meetings-Industry Employment Up, MPI Reports

Meetings-industry employment is up sharply in the United States and Europe, according to Meeting Professionals International (MPI), which today released the results of its latest MPI Business Barometer, showing a 10 percent and 15 percent increase, respectively, in the full-time and part-time/contract employment of meeting planners in December 2011 compared to October.

"Business levels continue to increase slowly, requiring many companies that were 'doing less with more' to hire and train," explains the December 2011 MPI Business Barometer, which notes that new hires typically aren't from within the industry. "Respondents say the industry labor pool shrank during the past few years as meeting professionals left to start new careers or launch their own companies, thus increasing competition and pricing pressure."

Other key findings, according to MPI:

• Meeting professionals in the United States, Europe and Canada each report modest increases in attendance over the last year (up 1.7 percent).

• Meeting professionals in the United States, Europe and Canada each report modest increases in attendance over the last year (up 1.3 percent).

• The fastest-growing sectors are the domestic corporate sector in the United States and the international association sector in Europe and Canada, while the weakest sector in all regions continues to be — for the 10th consecutive month — government-sector meetings.

• Economic uncertainty and political instability — with an emphasis on the Eurozone debt crisis — continue to dominate business concerns, although the number of meeting professionals expressing global and U.S. economic uncertainty fell by 9 percent and 3 percent, respectively, between October and December.

• Food and beverage costs have grown in many regions, where increased prices are giving way to "significant cutbacks" in F&B offerings, as well as the implementation of voucher and coupon systems and thinner buffets.