Back in Action: 4 Recruiting Trends for the Sports Industry

  By Brian Clapp  |    Monday September 27, 2021

Category: Expert Advice


At long last, sports are back, as stadiums, ballparks, and arenas fill once again with screaming fans. The return of sports also means the return of hundreds of thousands of jobs lost during COVID-19 – facilities managers, media specialists, videographers, trainers, concession stand attendants, referees, gameday operations staff, and plenty more employees who make the sports world go ‘round (it’s not just about the athletes). 

But what does this employment comeback mean for recruiters and staffers in the sports industry? To find out which trends will impact the sports labor market in the coming months, WorkInSports surveyed 340 U.S. job seekers in the sports industry. The survey results, detailed in the inaugural State of Sports Hiring Report, include these top four findings that every recruiting pro should know (with takeaways):


The Trend: Sports employees are eyeing greener fields. The “Great Resignation” – a hot topic in the broader HR realm – could hit the sports industry hard. Of the job seekers surveyed, 58.1% were employed and either actively or passively seeking a new job, hinting that a majority are considering leaving their current roles. 

The Takeaway: Expand your recruiting outreach to passive job seekers. Be sure to hit up those who are already employed in your search for talent – they might be ready to move onto new turfs. 

The Trend: The skills gap is growing wider. 42.7% of sports job seekers said they are struggling to find jobs they are qualified for, while 40.5% admitted to applying for a job they were underqualified for within the past year. 

The Takeaway: Your quest for qualified talent may become more difficult (if it hasn’t already). Consider candidates who don’t necessarily have direct sports industry experience but have transferable skillsets – and are ready and willing to learn on the job. 

The Trend: Candidates want to hear from you. When asked to identify their most significant challenges when searching for work online, 54.0% of respondents cited “ghosting” – applying for jobs or interviewing for a role and not hearing back from recruiters or employers. 

The Takeaway: Communicate with candidates clearly and frequently if you want to find your eventual hire (quickly). Respond in a timely manner when a job seeker applies or expresses interest in your position, and keep them informed when they are no longer in the running for a role. 

The Trend: Job boards are the No. 1 resource for sports job seekers. 66.1% of job seekers said they visit online job boards first if they need to find work, while 60.7% of respondents applied for work through a job board or online talent community in the past year. 

The Takeaway: Share your open positions on job boards, especially those specifically geared toward sports-minded job seekers. Figure out where your ideal candidate searches for work and advertise there. 

These are just a few of the highlights from WorkInSports’ 2021 State of Sports Hiring Report. For more insights for your recruiting playbook, visit 








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