Size of the labour force and existing skills
- Per the 2021 annual population survey, there were a total of 28,000 people potentially working in the industry in Greater Lincolnshire. (The data for Rutland was anonymised.)
- The workforce is young: 61% of all the people employed in the sport, physical activity, and leisure occupations in Greater Lincolnshire are 25-49 years of age (compared to 57% in the East Midlands and 56% in Great Britain).
- The workforce is seasonal: From the statistical data, it appears that the labour force in Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland for the sport, physical activity, and leisure sector is more seasonal than in other parts of the country.
- The workforce holds very diverse qualifications: In 2021 there were far more people holding NVQ1 and NVQ2 level qualifications compared to the rest of the region and the country; and far fewer people holding NVQ4 and above when compared to the rest of the region and the country.
- The workforce is largely made up of service workers: 34% of workers in the sector appear to be employed in the “caring, leisure, and other service occupations” followed by “skilled trades occupations” (19%) and “associate professional and technical occupations” (18%).
Skills in demand
- Digital Skills.
- Mental Health First Aid.
- Multi-Skilled Development and Multi-Level Career Paths.
- Need for Elite Skills, particularly Elite Coaching, for the benefit of clients and staff members alike.
- Professional Skills in Volunteering.
- Professional Skills on Trustee Boards.
Recruitment and retention
Survey responses as well as interview data suggest that there is a significant challenge in recruitment and retention for the sector. However, the sources of that challenge are multi-layered and intersecting. Based on the data, we have identified the following impacting factors:
- Seasonality of labor force.
- Career changes and retraining because of redundancies/furlough during COVID-19.
- Higher demand for skilled employees creating incentives for changing jobs quickly.
- Digital rollout and cost constraints resulting in some roles becoming consolidated.
- No incentives for returning workers. / Cost of living crisis pricing entry-level workers out of their roles.
Morale and motivation
- “Not just a job, but a career” – providers who invest in their workers and plan long-term for their career progression are seeing good results.
- However, morale and motivation has significantly been impacted by COVID and the cost-of-living crisis.
- Remote working is not always possible, especially for early-career workers in the sport, physical activity, and leisure sector.
- Statutory sick pay: £99.35 per week for up to 28 weeks.
The cost of working:
- Petrol: £80 - £120 per tank.
- Childcare: £137 - £263 per week or to £6,762 - £12,887 per year, for a child under 2. (Not including holidays.)
- Cost of caring for elderly relatives: £15 per hour of home care, or between £375 - £750 per week.
- A sandwich carer might have to pay £2,368 per month just to be able to do part-time work.
There is a need for a sector-wide intervention – not just to drive recruitment, but to address the underlying causes of under-employment and under-use of resources.
Examples of such interventions could include, but are not limited to:
- More digital opportunities.
- More training to fill digital roles.
- More investment in local employment opportunities, cutting the need to travel.
- More investment in childcare and elderly care facilities.
- More investment in local transport and infrastructure to allow for seamless travel or for people to take on digital opportunities within the sector.
- More investment in the recruitment of elite coaches for the sector.
It is worth noting that while the sport, physical activity, and leisure sector is one where face-to-face delivery is very important, it is not the only set of skills that is in high demand, as the next section will explore.
Volunteers are a core part of the Sport, Physical Activity, and Leisure sector. They are also becoming increasingly more and more professionalized, as they deliver at a standard of conduct and skill level that is comparable to those in paid-for roles.
- The sector needs administrators; librarians; salespeople; sales managers; custodians; accountants; and Trustees.
- Many people working in the sector as employees started off as volunteers.
- A need for professional support on Trustee boards.
Chapter Four, Recommendations
As demonstrated by this chapter, the workforce of the sport, physical activity, and leisure sector is staffed by many talented and skilled employees and volunteers. However, there is a growing demand for complex skills, limits to what training can be undertaken, and structural challenges to recruitment and retainment.
As such, the recommendations that are put forward are aimed at addressing these challenges:
Funding and partnership support to provide training and upskilling, particularly in the areas where there are skills in high demand. Examples include:
- Upskilling existing workforce where possible.
- Actively developing long-term career paths for employees.
- Helping businesses overhaul their income model without penalizing employees.
- Lobbying for better salaries, especially for entry-level workers.
- Courses and mentoring to help existing employees learn about digital skills.
- Integrating Mental Health First Aid into the training of employees.
- Making Multi-Skilled Development and Multi-Level Career Paths the norm, rather than the exception.
- Increase funding to attract Elite Coaching to the county
Raising the profile of volunteers and volunteering within the sector, with the view of increasing collaboration between stakeholders. Examples include:
- CSR schemes to encourage volunteering, both in entry-level positions and on Trustee Boards.
- Raising awareness of the value of skills developed during volunteering to support entry to the labour market where possible.
- Provide business training and business support for the third sector.
- Increasing collaborations between businesses and the third sector.
- Working with public sector partners to encourage more volunteering. (For example, for people who might have been out of work for a while.)
Targeted support towards aiding stakeholders in recruiting and retaining staff.
- Support for year-round employment schemes, through cross-training and various skills development.
- Funding for eligible companies to hire people year-round.
- Lobbying, support, and funding to increase the resilience of the sector, both as insurance in the case of another global pandemic and to make enterprises more financially robust.
- Investment in employee retention schemes, particularly for skills of high demand.
- Discouraging role consolidation.
Take active steps to reduce the cost of working, particularly for entry-level workers and women. Examples of that include:
- Childcare / elderly relative care support schemes.
- Support for family carers in the workplace.
- Support schemes for transport costs.
- Creating working opportunities closer to home or allowing more hybrid working depending on the role.
- Mentorship and training schemes for employees who might have been out of work for a while.
The above list is advisory and non-exhaustive.