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Sport professionals survey shows respondents paid ‘less than expected’

Sport professionals survey shows respondents paid ‘less than expected’
October 8, 2019

A survey of Australian sport industry professionals has revealed a level of dissatisfaction with industry salaries, with 47% of respondents stating they felt they were paid less than expected in their roles.

By contrast, just 1% of respondents said they were paid more than expected.

These views, and the findings that 84% of respondents were likely or highly to remain in the industry in the next three to five years, perhaps due to 90% believing they were offered flexible working hours/locations, have been revealed in the first industry wide survey conducted by the recently formed Australian Sports Professionals Association (ASPA).

ASPA’s inaugural ‘State of the Sporting Industry’ survey was established to deliver a snapshot of key individual and organisational challenges as perceived by those volunteering or working in the industry with the intent being to develop a baseline that allows for trends to be measured over time.

The current sporting industry profile showed that grassroots participation and funding were the main contributing factors to the positive direction that the industry is heading, with other factors taken into consideration such as fan and supporter engagement and capital works and infrastructure also playing a crucial role in this outcome.

Despite this, a number of key areas were identified as both opportunities and risks including grassroots participation, funding and volunteer retention.

Beyond pay concerns, when it came to assessing their own organisation’s capabilities and readiness in areas such as capital works, digital strategy, fan engagement and funding, only a few respondents strongly agreed they were in favourable positions with the majority of ranking their organisations slightly above what they considered neutral.

In other areas, such as volunteer recruitment and retention, the majority expressed an adequate ability to approach and resolve challenges pertaining to volunteer retention, though some expressed concern over the societal drift away from organised sport, possibly leading to challenges in improving or even maintaining volunteer health within their organisations.

More than half of respondents felt positive about the direction of the industry and listed the primary reason for this being trends and opportunities in grassroots participation. Almost a third of respondents believe that the single biggest threat to the Australian sport industry in the next three to five years is funding.

With close to 250 individuals from more than 51 different sports responding, the ‘State of the Sporting Industry’ survey presented the opinions of a diverse representation of the industry. Responses collected were anonymised in order to encourage greater candour from those in the industry. Basic demographic data including age brackets, gender and postcode and the full report shows a granular analysis of responses.

These were identified across organisations of varying sizes, suggesting that the industry is still yet to find the right formula for success.

The four primary components of the survey included:

• An individual’s role as a professional/volunteer;
• An individual’s perception of their organisation;
• An individual’s perception of the industry; and
• An individual’s perception of ASPA.

The survey represents a respectably diverse representation of the industry, including:

• 42% from non-managerial roles
• 50.6% female respondents
• 29% aged 26-34
• 42% with 10+ years of experience in the industry

The survey will be released annually to allow for further trend analysis.

ASPA was launched in February 2019 to further provide networking and collaboration opportunities for individuals within the sporting industry, regardless of their role or size of their organisation.

The Association aims to promote a culture of communication and collaboration between individuals and organisations leading to greater efficiencies and innovation within our industry.

To request access to the full summary go to

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13th May 2019 - World Academy of Sport releases research on challenges facing student-athletes maintaining a dual career

10th April 2019 - Australian Sports Professionals Association gets official launch

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19th March 2012 - Liverpool FC executive to address Sydney gathering of sports professionals

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