Play Sport, Earn More

Sports TankMen and Women who are active in sport are likely to earn 10% more in the workplace and are more likely to be employed in the first place according to a new survey published in Britain and increasing evidence from around the world.

Sport has always been recognised as an important element of public health and community but perhaps prominence should also be given to its role in preparing people for a place in the increasingly fragmented world of work.

Education spending and endowment is massive across the developed world as it should be across all areas but there are a number of key reasons why sport should have a big role within that.

“Everybody thinks sport is about winning,” said Dick Cashin, managing partner of a US investment firm in a recent Bloomberg interview. “It’s actually about losing and then figuring out a way to win, and that is a valuable skill for someone coming into the market.

Those who play sport, and team sport in particular are disciplined, used to taking direction and yet capable of showing initiative to break through a problem. If you were to write out the skills it takes to train and play to a reasonable standard you would be well on the way to compiling a winning application for any role.

The survey was taken by researchers at the University of St Galien and compared the impact of participation in team and individual sport, indoor and outdoor across men and women in different life stages.

The research claimed only to be a starting point in research but did draw clear benefits for employees in having played or developing a sporting life outside of the workplace. For young men there was a relationship between developing first in a team sport and then moving towards fitness based activities. For Women it found that a move in the opposite direction towards team sports at a later stage has a positive impact. This may be based on a different level of involvement in the lessons of team sport in teen and college years, a factor which Sport for Business continues to rail against as being in urgent need of attention.

Playing sport to a high level in university or college should be viewed as equivalent to an MBA according to Jesse Neumeyer of Citibank who played football for Penn State, the College coming to Ireland next year for the Croke Park Classic.

“You have been put through a challenging programme, been tested and worked your way through to achieving what you wanted,” he said in the same Bloomberg interview.

It is not only in the UK and the US that this belief in sport as a platform for achievement is gaining traction.

We certainly see a strong correlation between participation in sports and employability outcomes,” said Brian Marrinan, Head of MBA Careers at UCD Smurfit Business School.

“At an early stage in an individuals career there are a number of key skills which sport teaches that are of benefit in the workplace. Teamwork, leadership, problem solving and the ability to engage with individuals from different backgrounds and with different skills to your own.”

“This develops through a career when networks become more important with sporting networks being some of the strongest.”

Key Takeaway for Business: The lessons of teamwork and achieving a result are more easily absorbed on a sports field than in a training room.

Key Takeaway for Sport: Players within a sport who have made a success in business should be highlighted to employers who may want to build an association with a skilled pool of future workers.

The 2014 Sport for Business Conference is on The Business of Youth Sport.  To express an interest in planning and participating in this, Sport for Business members should contact us today.

Sport for Business is a membership organisation. We help sport reach out to business and business to engage the power of sport in its management, marketing and values. Contact us today to see how you can be a part of what we can achieve together.


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