Playing sport regularly adds £11,000 to average earnings

Those who have regularly participated in organised sport since childhood earn more on average, study reveals

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
Sport can help develop skills such as teamwork, confidence and focus Photo: whatleydude/Flickr

UK employees who have regularly participated in organised sport since childhood earn over £11,000 more per year than those who haven’t, according to new research.

The study of 2,000 employed UK adults, conducted by commercial property and real estate services advisor CBRE, shows that those who have participated in organised sport at least two to four times per month since childhood earn an average of £34,960 per year.

Those who have not regularly been active in sports activities earn an average of £23,850 per annum.

Average earnings decrease depending on how late in life employees began regularly participating in organised sport.

Those who began participating in their teenage years earn an average of £32,565 per year while those who began in adult life earn £28,300 per year on average. Over a an entire career, those who have regularly participated in organised sport since childhood can expect to earn over £522,170 more than those who haven’t been active at all.

Increased employability and accelerated earning potential can be attributed to having soft skills such as good communication, teamwork, confidence and focus which can enhance academic achievement as well as technical knowledge and experience.

In fact, research from Kaplan and the CBI shows that nine in ten (89 per cent) British firms rate ‘soft skills’ as more important than technical knowledge when recruiting graduates[iii] and these attributes can all be developed through regular participation in sport.

Average earnings by specific sport

Triathlon – £44,375
Cycling – £39,635
Rowing – £38,125
Cricket – £35,930
Football – £35,715
Rugby – £35,370
Lacrosse – £35,000
Squash – £34,165
Netball – £33,170
Tennis – £33,115
Hockey – £32,270
Basketball – £30,785
Running – £30,260
Athletics – £30,100
Badminton – £29,715
Fitness (eg. yoga, pilates, weight-lifting) – £27,945
Swimming – £27,775

While sport has a definite impact on achievement and earnings potential, this is not the primary motivator for participants.

Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of employees state that achieving a healthier lifestyle is a key benefit of participation in sport.

Over half of employees who regularly engage in sports activity (56 per cent) say that a good social life is a key motivation for them. While two fifths (41 per cent) say that the psychological well-being that sport offers and the chance to de-stress is also an important factor in choosing to get involved.

While people don’t explicitly play sport to boost their career prospects, those who do take part recognise the skills they gain from their activity does help in the workplace. Teamwork (61 per cent), discipline (53 per cent), determination (51 per cent) and focus (49 pre cent) are the top skills that sporty employees feel they gain from regularly participating in sport. While responsibility to others (27 per cent) and leadership (23 per cent) were also traits that they feel they have developed.

Nearly half of sporty employees (45 per cent) say these skills have made them better able to deal with pressure at work. While nearly a third (32 per cent) say they are better able to manage people as a result of the experience they have acquired through sport. A quarter are better able to deal with criticism while a fifth feel they have a much more disciplined approach to work as a result of their activity.


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