SP Meeting Minders, a placement firm specifically for event planners in the Bay area, has created a Web site to streamline the job search process. Foster City, Calif.-based ESP, which stands for Event Specialist Placement, screens candidates for short- and long-term contract work as well as full-time regular employment. The Web site, at www.espmeetingminders.com, allows companies to post job descriptions and for planners to fill out and submit profile forms, although neither can actually view the ESP's list of job openings or candidates online.

About 65 percent of ESP placements are in the high-tech field, estimates company founder, Ellen Sandler, CMP, who characterizes the Bay area's event management job market as "hot, very active, but loaded with a lot of extremely qualified candidates."

Besides logistical know-how, Sandler says companies are looking for planners who have technical and marketing savvy. Web-page development skills are becoming increasingly important, she says. "The people who are in the worst situation are those who have been in jobs that haven't required them to learn computers and other technical skills. They're dead in the water."