Event Worker Shortage Creates Need for Staffing Solutions

As the staffing shortage continues, event and entertainment venues consider various options for staffing their concerts, sporting events and more. Here we look at where the events industry stands now and how staffing needs have changed.


In June 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1.6 million job openings in the hospitality industry. That’s the highest number recorded since the organization started tracking the data in 2000. Meanwhile, after a period of inactivity due to COVID-19, event and entertainment venues are scaling up again. But in many cases, there simply isn’t enough staff to support growing crowds. As they struggle to hire event staff, these venues are considering various options for staffing their concerts, sporting events and more. Here we look at the current state of the events industry and three areas where event staffing needs are changing.

Primary reasons for the events staffing shortage

Spectra Venue Management, which operates about 150 large venues throughout the U.S., including stadiums and arenas, said that only 50-60% of their part-time workforce will return. Event venues are experiencing an event worker shortage for a variety of reasons, according to a CNBC report:

  • With event venues closed to fans over the past year, some part-time workers took new jobs. Those who were out of work during COVID-19 found jobs in other industries. Their primary goals: better wages and more convenient hours.
  • Other workers chose not to return due to health and safety concerns because of COVID-19.
  • Plus, community volunteerism to staff events for charitable or non-profit organizations fell dramatically.

As a result, the use of staffing agencies to fulfill these event staffing needs is growing considerably. In 2021, the market size of the U.S. temporary staffing segment is estimated at $121.9 billion, up from $107 billion the prior year. Local staffing agencies which include event recruiting experts are becoming increasingly vital as venues seek out qualified workers available in their communities.

Key strategies for attracting event staff

Being successful at recruiting workers means venues have to rethink their current strategies and find innovative ways to attract staff. To ensure they’re not shorthanded, venues are turning to flexible staffing models in order to supplement their workforce. That’s a win for workers too. A 2019 survey by International Workplace Group found that 83% of workers would choose a job that provided flexible hours over one that didn’t.

Meanwhile, some venues are running job fairs and providing one-time hiring incentives like signing bonuses, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. Others are offering higher wages to attract potential staff. Another practice gaining popularity: programs where workers get paid the same day that they work. This served as a key staff retention strategy as well.

Event worker retention and training takes higher priority

As more people return to their favorite activities, expect more competition to make the live experience even better than before. That requires venues to fully staff their events, including concessions, culinary operations, and customer service.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that turnover in the hospitality industry hovers around 70-80% annually. With staff retention a constant issue, venues are cross-training employees so they can work different roles during events. Also, reconnecting with previous staff who possess necessary skills is crucial for these venues so that their events run smoothly. As a result, venues have staff on hand who take great pride in what they do and who meet all customer service needs.

How a staffing agency supports event staffing needs

In recent months, an influx of events sprouted up across the country. Accordingly, in a competitive job market, event venues need to consider all their options as they recruit new staff. What worked in the past won’t necessarily work now.

If you need event staff for your next project, PeopleReady has the answer for all your event hiring needs. We have event workers available at a moment’s notice with a large roster of candidates available to you. PeopleReady staffs a variety of events including sporting events, concerts and festivals, trade shows, and more. Also, we cover every aspect of your event: guest relations, venue cleaning, food and beverage concessions and more.

Meanwhile, PeopleReady’s app, JobStack, connects businesses with local workers, 24/7. The app gives event managers to manage their workforce easily, even for last-minute requests. JobStack also offers job seekers several valuable features. These include:

  • The ability to accept jobs within any distance that fit their schedule.
  • Access to jobs across a variety of roles and skill sets.
  • Same-day pay so they get paid quickly.

Need event workers for your venue?

PeopleReady specializes in quick and reliable on-demand labor and highly skilled workers. PeopleReady supports a wide range of blue-collar industries, including construction, manufacturing and logistics, waste and recycling, and hospitality. Leveraging its game-changing JobStack platform and 600-plus branch offices across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, PeopleReady served approximately 98,000 businesses and put more than 221,000 people to work in 2020.