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A Tricky Balance: Staffing Levels and Show Demand

Trade-show service provider Fern joins Flex Talent Pool, created by GES to find exhibition-industry workers for temporary projects.

In January, GES, a general services contractor for the exhibition and convention industry, launched the Flex Talent Pool, a job board for temporary workers who specialize in exhibition operations or services. Now Fern, another trade-show services provider, has joined the program.

The exhibitions industry, like all corners of the event world, suffered severe job losses during the Covid-19 pandemic. The results of Meeting Professionals International’s spring 2021 Meetings Outlook report reveal ongoing challenges: Of those subjected to layoffs last year, 58 percent of planners and 43 percent of suppliers remain unemployed. And for those who were furloughed, 30 percent of planners and 29 percent of suppliers are still sidelined.

As trade shows begin to come back this year, exhibition management will be trying to carefully balance their staffing levels with show demand, and might find the logistics, freight, electrical, and decorating services experts in short supply. For GES and now Fern, the Flex Talent Pool is a way to connect with experienced event professionals and provide temporary work opportunities.

“Our decision to join the Flex Talent Pool program with GES is one of many steps we are taking in the short term to effectively serve our customers as we ramp back up to more consistent activity. It also serves as a bridge to get many of our displaced team members back to work,” said Aaron Bludworth, CEO of Fern.

The Flex Talent Pool job opportunities are included on the job board of staffing firm Epic Personnel Partners and differentiated by the word “Flex” in the job title.

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