Sporting industry jobs: Australian job market that’s set to boom

There is one job market that is set to boom in Australia, with tens of thousands of jobs tipped to be created in the next few years.

The sporting industry is about to experience a serious job boom, and new research shows that the types of jobs available will be broader than most of us ever considered.

Thanks to the upcoming Olympic Games in 2032, Commonwealth Games in 2026 and recurring annual events in-between — like the Australian Open and Formula 1 — experts are predicting a job boom of tens of thousands in the industry.

“There’s a lot of stuff we take for granted because we see sport on TV and think it just kind of happens, but a lot of jobs underpin that,” Dr Hunter Fujak of Deakin University Business School explained to news.com.au.

It’s this reason that Fujak feels the industry has largely been overlooked when it comes to careers.

In fact, new research from Deakin University surveyed 1,000 parents and 300 high school students, only to discover that they severely underestimated the number of jobs available.

For example, while the Queensland government has forecasted that the 2032 Olympics will create over 100,000 jobs locally, 40 per cent of parents estimated the number would be less than 5000 jobs. About half of the students had the same answer.

“The industry has largely been overlooked because it only really professionalized over the last 50 years, specifically probably only 30 years,” he continued.

“The starting point was probably world series cricket with Kerry Packer in the 1970s, but it wasn’t really until the 1990s that we really saw big commercial rights develop — which really created an industry that required professional practice.”

“Deakin University was one of the first in the world to offer a sport management degree inside a business school, not within physical education. That only happened in the 1990s.”

What jobs are available?

While most of us don’t think of sports jobs beyond athlete, coach and commentator, Fujak says in reality there are plenty of options.

“I teach first year undergrad students who come in starry-eyed, knowing they love sport, but not necessarily knowing what that means for jobs,” he said. “Part of my role is getting them thinking about what potential jobs actually look like.”

“There’s two sides — the professional and commercial side of sport, and the community side.”

“On the community side there are lots of jobs in local councils, there are people maintaining the parks and sporting facilities. There’s an abundance of jobs in these spaces.”

“The other half is the professional sport side, and that’s where we’re going to see a big boom in jobs over the next decade. We’re about to have all these major sporting events come, and when they do they require people to work in things like logistics, scheduling, facility management and more.”

Fujak also pointed out that there are a lot of ongoing professional roles in things like marketing and communications for professional sports clubs.

What should you study?

If you love sport and want to get in on the upcoming job boom, Fujak says you don’t necessarily need a degree in sports, but it definitely helps.

“Sport is definitely a very unique industry, which is why we often have specialized degrees,” he said. “It sits at this intersection of business and culture.”

“But we have multiple different pathways in that degree. There’s the business side of sport, so you might get into sports management if you’re more passionate about business and money.”

“We have sport development degrees, for people who are more interested in getting involved with communities — whether that’s something like getting kids playing sport or helping people with disabilities be able to participate.”

“Then there’s also high performance,” he continued. “That’s for people who are more interested in sport science and physical performance of elite athletes.”

While Fujak says these are the three tiers people should consider if they’re interested in the sporting industry, there are other pathways.

“Potentially things like working in media and marketing have parallel ways to get in,” he explains.

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