Thursday, June 13, 2024

Employment in sport in the EU

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In 2021, 1.37 million people were employed in the sports sector in the EU, representing 0.7% of total employment. At the EU level, the number of people working in sport in the EU recovered after dipping during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns (1.37 million employees in 2019; 1.31 in 2020).

The EU countries with the highest share of people working in the field of sport were Sweden (1.4% of total employment), Finland (1.3%), Spain and France (both 1.1%). While, the EU countries with the lowest shares of people working in the field of sport were reported in Romania (0.2% of total employment), Malta (0.3%) and Bulgaria, Slovakia and Poland (all 0.4%).

Source dataset: sprt_emp_sex


More men work in sport sectors

In the sports sector, men were more represented than women (55% and 45%, respectively), resulting in a slightly larger gender gap than that observed for overall employment (54% and 46%, respectively). 

Infographic: Employment in sport in the EU, % of total, 2021

Source datasets: sprt_emp_sex, sprt_emp_age, sprt_emp_edu


Nearly a third all working in sport are aged 15-29

When it came to age, 32% of those employed were young people (aged 15-29), almost twice the share observed for overall employment (17%). People aged 30-64 represented 65% of sport employment, 15 percentage points less than the share reported for total employment.

Almost half of those employed in sport have a medium level of education

Almost half (47%) of those employed in the sport sector had a medium level of education (International Standard Classification of Education levels 3-4), followed by those with tertiary education (ISCED 5-8) with 40% (3 percentage points higher than those in total employment). People who achieved lower education (ISCED 0-2), accounted for 13% of employment in sport. 

This article is being published on the occasion of the annual European Week of Sport. The motto is #BeActive, motivating people across the world to springboard into active, healthier lifestyles!

For more information:

Methodological notes: 

  • Employment in sport includes sport-related occupations in the sports sector e.g., professional athletes, professional coaches in fitness centres, non-sport occupations in the sports sector, e.g., receptionists in fitness centres, and sport-related jobs outside the sports sector, e.g. school sport instructors.
  • France and Spain: definition differs. See information at the link above.


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