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industry
research
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Liz Smith outlines the key findings of this year’s Working in Fitness survey
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verall, the fitness industry shows signs of resilience a particular discrepancy in the areas of promotion/career
to the current economic climate, with a stable development and remuneration package: when fi tness employers
workforce and continued investment in training. do not meet the expectations of their workforce in these areas,
However, there is still room for improvement employees are particularly unlikely to recommend them.
in terms of pay, which remains low, and career progression There is further evidence to support the fi ndings of
opportunities, which are still poor. dissatisfaction with pay and career prospects when examining
These are the topline fi ndings of the sixth annual Working the factors that would persuade people to leave the industry.
in Fitness survey, developed by SkillsActive and REPs and Nearly half of the workforce reported low pay as a reason to
conducted between May and July this year – fi ndings that leave (48 per cent), while better career prospects in other
correlate with the 2009 FIA State of the UK Fitness Industry fi elds was noted by 37 per cent.
report, which also pointed to continued growth in the industry. Low pay is particularly noted as a factor by those
respondents with the shortest expectations of remaining in the
PAY & PROGRESSION
industry: 86 per cent of those expecting to stay up to one year
In spite of the economic downturn, four-fifths of fitness and 69 per cent of those expecting to stay up to three years
workers questioned for the survey were positive about identifi ed low pay. The occupations most commonly citing a lack
remaining in the industry for a minimum of five years, with of remuneration were club/duty managers (69 per cent), studio
Northern Ireland and Scotland particularly positive. or fi tness managers/team or group leaders (63 per cent) and
This may refl ect, in part, the stability of the industry in the gym instructors (60 per cent).
face of the downturn, but it also highlights the personal value Gym instructors are the lowest-paid role, earning less than
gained by the fi tness workforce from their work: three-quarters £13,000 a year, while club/duty managers and studio or fi tness
of UK fi tness respondents were prepared to recommend the managers earn an average £21,200 and £18,100 respectively. Just
main organisation they worked for to a friend. Chains of private over one-third of the workforce reported receiving a pay rise
fi tness clubs were less likely to receive a recommendation, with in the last 12 months, lower than the previous year where half
36 per cent of workers not willing to refer them. Multi-sports had an increase. The majority saw no change in pay. The private
clubs/centres and education and training establishments (eg sector had a notably low fi gure reporting a rise (only 22 per cent).
universities) fared better, with 87 per cent and 89 per cent of Positively, factors such as leaving the industry due to an end
workers respectively willing to recommended them. of contract/redundancy was only reported by 14 per cent of
An insight into what infl uences a recommendation is gleaned the workforce, while self-employed/freelance workers citing a
from examining levels of satisfaction. Figure 1 below highlights lack of work or rising costs accounted for only seven per cent
1
LEVEL OF SATISFACTION AND WHETHER AN
2
FACTORS CITED AS REASONS TO LEAVE THE INDUSTRY
EMPLOYER WOULD BE RECOMMENDED
Low pay compared to other
industries
48%
4.1
With your degree of responsibility
3.0
Other personal reasons 37%
4.0
With your current employer
2.3
Better prospect/career paths in
With the standard of induction for 3.8 other industries
37%
your role 2.6
With the standard quality and 3.8
Unsociable hours 32%
relevance of training 2.5
That your job description matches 3.8 Poor working conditions 22%
your working week 2.7
3.8
With your hours of work Poor training and development 20%
2.9
3.6
With your job security
2.5
Leaving to raise family 17%
With your prospects for 3.3
promotion/career development 1.8 End of contract/redundancy 14%
3.2
With your remuneration package
1.9
Work pressure too much 14%
very dissatisfi ed very satisfi ed
1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%
48 Read Health Club Management online november/december 2009 © cybertrek 2009
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