So far, 2020 has been a year like no other for sports industry. The current crisis has thrown our industry into disarray and there is no question that we are going to see fundamental changes to our coveted sports industry for better and for worse in the coming future. While we cannot predict the future, it is likely that the after-effects of COVID are going to stretch out for a number of years. On the positive side, we have seen in recent times and especially in economic adversity that sports business has a proven ability to be reasonably recession resilient due to it’s position in society and providing thrills, escapism and happiness in testing times.
So, if you are planning the start of your career or looking for a new career focus, the sports industry could possibly be one of the best sectors to enter right now, based on its ability to manage itself through a crisis. The question is, how should you approach your career in the world of sports as a graduate, seasoned professional or as someone with experience and expertise in another industry during these challenging times?
Some sport organisations have continued to hire talent throughout the crisis, but many have implemented hiring freezes and similar while they navigate these uncertain times and it has been a difficult time to look for opportunities. Now with the mist somewhat rising, the jobs market is starting to pick up again and more organisations are on the lookout for new talent to fill opened positions and build their futures in the new reality.
Scan the industry and take any opportunity to get your foot in the door. If you are new to the business of sport, try and secure an internship or placement. Through these opportunities you will broaden your acquired theoretical knowledge, gain experience in different professional environments, expand your networking and define the professional sectors that are most related to your interests and skills (for example: sport sponsorship, communications, data analytics or perhaps event management etc.)
In addition, you should evaluate what skill sets you have and where this best positions you in the marketplace to understand the opportunities you should focus on going for. Is your core competency in content creation, sales, marketing, or project management? Maybe you have gained additional skills during lockdown that could open new professional sectors for you in the future? Narrowing your search in an organised, tactical manner will certainly help your chances of landing an opportunity.
As a result of the interruption to live sport, Two Circles estimates that in 2020 the global sports industry will generate $61.6bn less than projected before the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, Goldman Sachs projects the global economy to not reach its pre-pandemic path before the end of next year. Therefore, kick starting your career in the sports industry with your dream position right now maybe more difficult to attain as the world of sports rehabilitates itself. Your approach should be to think long term and create a roadmap that navigates you through smaller steps towards your bigger goal that you will reach in the future. The sports industry will get back on it’s feet and you will see significant opportunities in the long term if you manage to effectively navigate the now.
"If you excel at what you do; If you are dedicated, focused and motivated you have a very good chance of being further forward than you probably would have been in the pre Covid world ."
Will Lloyd, CEO Global Sports
It is estimated only half of scheduled 2020 sporting events will take place this calendar year. This means that we expect to see bumper career opportunities moving forward within this sector as Federations, Local Organising Committees and event organisers aim to host and deliver events that have been postponed. Getting experience at Global Sporting events, in any capacity, is a great way gain invaluable exposure into the inner workings of the sports industry. Keeping an eye on such opportunities and making an application to relevant positions when you see them is advised.
The challenges businesses face today won’t be the last, history has a habit of repeating itself. The ability to absorb a shock and to come out of it better than the competition is the key to commercial survival and long-term prosperity. What the current situation has highlighted is the importance of skills in an organisation to help them tackle adversity and manage turbulent market conditions. These attributes and skills will be increasingly in-demand as we move forward. Highlight your resiliency capabilities and prove it by stating how you have personally managed crisis situations and what you have done in the last few months to cope with adverse situations.
"We have seen sports organisations use high levels of innovation and creativity in order to retain sustainability and keep losses to a minimum."
Will Lloyd, CEO Global Sports
Secondly, problem solving and creative thinking have become a highly priced 'people' commodities in sporting organisations and being able to demonstrate your skills here will elevate your employability, more today than ever before.
We often associate problem-solving with senior positions. While that maybe true when it comes to fundamental business strategy, but with flatter organisational structures and a more creative approach to opportunities, in modern companies problem solving to an organisation wide requirement. Demonstrating you can solve even the smallest of problems will show employers you have the capabilities of dealing with larger ones.
"The number one key attribute that employers seek today is the ability to solve problems."
The American National Association of College and Employers
The good news is that problem solving and creative thinking are learnt skills and you just need practice. If you feel you lack the knowledge or practical experience in these areas, take a course or try and build your experience within your current team.
Global Sports: the world’s leading specialist careers platform for the international sports industry