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Aquatic, fitness and sport professionals’ salaries lag behind average weekly earnings

Aquatic, fitness and sport professionals’ salaries lag behind average weekly earnings
May 7, 2014

Salaries for professionals in the aquatic, fitness and sport sectors have failed to keep pace with national average weekly earnings data over the past two years.

Findings from the latest Sportspeople Workplace Survey show that salaries in the fitness sector decreased 6.7% over during 2012 and 2013, aquatics sector salaries fell marginally by 0.1% while salaries in the sport sector increased 4.8%.

These figures compare with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)'s national average weekly earnings data showing a 7.9% increase for the corresponding period.

Consistent with trending since 2003, more males (31.8%) than females (18.7%) earned salaries in excess of $80,000 in 2013 and the gap between the number of males and females earning $80,000 or above has grown in favour of men since 2011.

The Survey also found that 90% of employees in the aquatic, fitness and sport sectors intend to stay in the industry long term and 84% of all employees are either satisfied or very satisfied with their current job.

Key findings of the 2013 Sportspeople Workplace Survey include:

• Sydney (22.7%) and Melbourne (21.1%) continue to lead the nation as the hot spots for jobs in the aquatic, fitness and sport sectors. Melbourne continues its reputation as the sport capital of Australia, leading the way for jobs in the sport sector alone (28%) trumping Sydney (23.6%).

• The aquatics sector has the highest percentage of female employees (71.7%), followed by the fitness sector (66.2%) while the sport sector employs more males (55.2%).

• 43% of respondents were aged less than 35 years in 2013, compared to 54% in 2011. The percentage of respondents aged 60 years or older increased to 4.4% and up from 2.3% in 2011.

• 44.3% of all respondents held a Bachelors Degree in 2013, down from 49% in 2009. There has been a significant increase in the number of respondents holding Certificate III and IV as well as industry specific accreditation. 70.1% of those people working in the sport sector hold a Bachelors Degree compared with 33.1% in the fitness sector and 30.8% in aquatics. 89.5% of all qualifications are deemed to be wholly or partially specific to the job in which the respondent is presently employed.

• 54.5% of respondents were employed on a permanent full-time basis in 2013 down from 66.8% in 2009, 77% (2008) and 80.5% (2003). The increase in part-time employment within the fitness (60.2%) and aquatic (55.6%) sectors impacts on this overall value. 85% of respondents working in the sport sector work on a full-time basis.

• 43.1% of part-time employees work more than one job, with some working as many as six different employers.

• 51.4% of all respondents working full-time worked more than 40 hours a week with 16.9% working in excess of 50 hours a week. For those people working in sport 53.2% worked more than 40 hours a week while 47.8% of those working in the fitness sector worked 20 hours or less.

• 72.9% of males working in the sport, fitness and aquatic sector work on a full-time basis compared to 43.3% females. By extension, 56.7% of females working in the aquatic, fitness and sport sectors work part-time compared to 27.1% males.

• 36.4% of respondents had worked in the sport, fitness and aquatics sector for four years or less, down from 39.6% in 2009. 7.9% of employees had worked more than 25 years in the sector, up from 5.6% (2009) and 2.2% (2003).

• 77.4% of respondents travel less than 20 kilometres to work (one way). 54.5% of people working in the fitness sector travelled less than 10 kilometres (one way) to work whereas 61.5% of people working in sport and 55.6% in aquatics travelled more than 10 kilometres (one way).

• 84% of all respondents are either satisfied or very satisfied with their current job (down from 85.1% in 2009). 90% intend to stay in the industry long-term, up from 88.1% (2009) and 85.9% (2008).

• Only 5.3% of all respondents were attracted to the sport, fitness and aquatics sector by remuneration. 42.1% were initially attracted to the sector due to either a desire to work in the specific industry (sport, fitness or aquatics) or an interest in a specific sport.

• The mean full-time base salary for the sport, fitness and aquatic sector is $65,421 a decrease of 2.8% from 2011.

• The mean full-time base salary for males working in the sport, fitness and aquatic sector is $70,884, a decrease of 2.2% from 2011. The mean full-time base salary for females working in the sport, fitness and aquatic sector is $59,233 a decrease of 1.9% from 2011.

• The mean full-time base salary in the sport sector was $74,326 an increase of 4.8% from 2011. The mean full-time base salary in fitness was $53,392 down by 6.7% (2011) and for aquatics $65,857 a marginal decrease of 0.1% (2011).

• The mean hourly rate of pay for all part-time respondents working in the aquatic, fitness and sport sectors is $35.41, with 59.5% of females earning more than $30 per hour compared to males (46.3%).

• 42.9% of all respondents received additional remuneration or benefits above their base salary, down from 43.1% in 2009. Computers, mobile telephones, motor vehicle allowances, commissions/bonus, gym membership and clothing/uniform allowances were the most common benefits.

According to Sportspeople Managing Director, Robert McMurtrie while these results indicate the aquatic, fitness and sport sectors continues to lag behind other sectors in regards to wage growth, employees seem to be content in their chosen occupations and the sector in which they work.

McMurtrie commented “generally speaking, most of the data from our Surveys up to 2011 indicated salary levels in the sport, fitness and aquatic sector were reasonably aligned to national wage growth trends.

“However, in the past five years we have seen this sector increasingly fall behind. Once again we’ve seen an overall decrease in wages, the second and consecutive decrease since we first started surveying the sector in 2003.

“While the national average weekly earnings grew 7.9% over the 2011-2013 period, we saw earnings in the sport, fitness and aquatic sector (combined) actually fall 2.8%.

“However, if we break out the sport sector from fitness and aquatics, we start to see some interesting differences. Base salaries in the sport sector actually grew 4.8% while the fitness sector decreased 6.7% and the aquatics sector fell only 0.1%. The high number of people working part-time in both the fitness sector (60.2%) and aquatics sector (55.6%) may partially explain these differences. 85% of people working in the sport sector work on a full-time basis.

“The mean salary for women decreased 1.9% over these past two years and, when working in a full-time role, women earn less than their male colleagues. While it was pleasing to see the gap between the number of males and females earning $80,000 or more narrowing over the 2009/11 period, it has widened by 3.7% over these past two years.

“Interestingly, hourly rates in excess of $30 were earned by more females (59.5%) compared to males (46.3%), likely attributable to the high number of women working in the fitness and aquatics sector particularly where an hourly rate of pay is common.

“The data also showed specific trends when comparing an International/National, State/Territory or Regional/Community organisation. State/Territory organisations paid more than National/International for their full time employees, while Regional/Community organisations recorded the highest pay rate for part time employees.”

“What is very obvious again from this data is that significant salary variances exist for roles which have the same position title. For example, an Administration Manager in one organisation can earn $210,000 a year while in another only $40,000. This reinforces our long held view that a salary range should be a mandatory inclusion when advertising a position vacancy.

“Terminology such as ‘Attractive Package’ or ‘Negotiable’ can be interpreted in many ways by candidates and may, in fact, be counter-productive to the recruitment effort.

“The 2013 Sportspeople Workplace Survey provides a snap shot of employee trends in hours worked, time taken to get to and from work, lunch breaks, additional remuneration above base salary and employee satisfaction.

“Overall we’d have to say that people working in the sport, fitness and aquatic sector are a happy bunch attracted to their role not by the remuneration, but the opportunity work in the sector and the overwhelming majority either satisfied or very satisfied with their current job.

“The 2003, 2008, 2009, 2013 Sportspeople Workplace Surveys and the 2010, 2011 Sportspeople Salary Surveys provide us with a measurement tool to analyse and report changes to each of the survey areas. We plan to continue to undertake specific wage and occupation surveys and are scheduled to conduct the next Sportspeople Salary Survey in 2014 and the Sportspeople Workplace Survey in 2015.”

The 2013 Sportspeople Workplace Survey attracted 2,122 responses with 92.6% of respondents indicated they are currently employed (or have been in the past 12 months) in the sport, fitness, aquatic, coaching, venues, events, leisure or lifestyle sector.

Click here for more information or call 1800 634 388.

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