People who play organised sports once a fortnight earn nearly £11,000 more than the average wage, according to researchers — more than £500,000 over the course of a career.
Triathlon participants are the biggest earners, with an average salary of £44,375. Cyclists, rowers and cricketers follow behind, with football, rugby, lacrosse, squash and netball players farther down the pay scale.
The research was commissioned by CBRE, a property company that is starting a partnership with England Rugby’s All Schools Programme to widen access to the game for a million state school pupils. Opinion Matters, which conducted the survey among 2,000 workers, found that those who had not taken part in organised sport earned just under £24,000 on average.
In contrast, those who had taken part in organised sport between two and four times a month since childhood earned just under £35,000.
Maggie Alphonsi, a player for the England women’s rugby team, said: “The benefits of taking part in regular sport are well known in health terms but this research proves that the skills gained from participation have a far broader benefit.” Ciaran Bird, the managing director of CBRE UK, said that sport had a tremendous impact on overall wellbeing. He added: “The skills developed through sport help increase employability and earnings.”
The skills that employees believe they gain from organised sport that lead to higher earnings include good communication, teamwork and confidence. However, the research found that few took part in sport with the aim of earning more. The primary motivation was to improve one’s health followed by having a good social life.
The average income of individuals varied depending on how late in life they begin participating in organised sport. Researchers calculated that over a 47-year career the difference in earnings can amount to more than £522,000.
Recent studies have shown that employers rate “soft skills” such as good communication, teamwork and confidence as more important than technical knowledge. Research from Kaplan and the CBI found that 89 per cent of firms prized soft skills when recruiting graduates. Out of the “sporty employees” nearly half said that skills such as teamwork and communication had helped them to deal with pressures of the workplace and a quarter said they were better able to deal with criticism.
Tennis players earned £33,115 on average followed by hockey, basketball, running, athletics, badminton and swimming. The England Rugby All Schools Programme aims to have 750 state schools enrolled and playing rugby union by 2019.