Buoyant corporate 'Speakernomics' speaks volumes about UK business.

Speakers Corner has produced ‘Speakernomics’, a series of insights on trends for speakers at events which mirror the economic landscape and underline the onus being placed on business events in society today.

One of the world’s leading speaker bureaus extracted each enquiry logged with the agency between 2011-2015. Speakers Corner then analysed the individual sectors which adopt the services of a speaker, along with their motive behind using such a resource.

In line with the wider UK economy, the research highlights a reduction in spend between 2011 – 2012, which then rallied by the end of 2013; a returning confidence saw strong trading in 2014 and a dramatic spike in enquiries. As such, this leads to a positive but realistic projection for 2015 (see fig. 1)

Despite austerity measures being put in place during the recession the key sectors utilising the services of outsourced speakers are (see fig. 2):

  • Professional Services
  • Finance and Banking
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction and Property
  • Utilities
  • Retail

The facts also highlighted a move away from celebrity speakers in favour of commercially-focused presenters capable of delivering business messages which reflect an individual corporate business strategy.  Speakers Corner analysed the demand of over 425,000 key skills, or topic areas, and underline the key motivators for engaging the services of a speaker to:

Innovate: Using the experience of a business presenter from another industry to demonstrate expertise, adversity and entrepreneurialism

Involve: Maximising engagement with delegates by facilitating conversations, debate and panel sessions.

Endorsement: Leveraging the profile of awards and rewards with popular figurehead

Inspire: Using motivational speaker to talk on broad subjects that encourage better work/life/balance.

Business Presenter

  • Demand for speakers with a business skill set is at an all-time high and increased 30% between 2013-2014. Topics in demand reflect the global socio-economic climate with current affairs, science & technology, women and economics in perennial demand.
  • Requests for Speakers on current affairs started to decrease from the beginning of the recession in 2010 as corporates steered clear of reiterating Europe's poor financial climate. Demand dramatically rose in 2013 – 2014 in the build-up to the 2015 General Election, and is levelling out following the confirmation of a new government. (See fig. 3)
  • Demand for speakers around gender equality has come to the fore as corporates champion women's contribution to economic growth. Equally a demand for female business leaders to share their story is fuelling growth for the female entrepreneur to speak up and out.
  • With technology fuelling the global economy, in 2013 – 2014 demand for speakers with science and technology skills was 43%. Disruptive technologies and new business methodology, with tech at its heart, has led to all industries accepting and embracing the sector, fuelling the need to learn from it.  (See fig. 4)
  • Television programmes are also a large influencer on business speakers. Specialist programmes such Mary Queen of Shops and Hotel Inspector have seen business specialist become TV personalities only to return to the workplace forum as a keynote speaker.


  • Tighter reins on the corporate purse means that conference spends are increasingly under the scrutiny of procurement and the accounts departments.
  • With return on investment now a requisite for events, facilitators are coming to the fore to maximise messaging, provide a cohesive voice and ensure that all delegates are fully switched on.

Awards Host

  • The sector was most notably affected during the recession and has yet to regain to pre-2010 levels. This suggests a sharp decrease in individual company investment in staff incentives. However, a gradual pick-up Y-o-Y as the UK rose out of recession indicates reflects the renewed corporate need to reward staff in the current climate of high employments and lower wages. (See fig. 5)

Undeniably, the research points to the fact that content has become the key criterion of choice for business events. While the celebrity status of a speaker may help media coverage around the event, in today's knowledge economy imparting messages and ensuring an engaged audience are essential for a good return on investment.

Nick Gold , managing director at Speakers Corner said, "We have crunched nearly half a million pieces of data to come up with a true picture of who, how and why business speakers are used.  The days of punting out a big name are gone as event planner's need to coordinate for their delegates’ needs and the inevitable questioning by their internal governance processes. These figures stack up like a 'Speakeronomy' that marries our economic climate with the subjects that are discussed in the conferences and events across the UK and Europe".

Industry specific 'Speakernomics' will be released over the next three months to highlight the varying demands of the UK's SIC-coded businesses.

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