Competitive salary packages needed to attract top talent

Companies operating in the sporting goods market are having to offer highly competitive salary and flexible benefits packages to attract the talent needed to develop business in emerging markets and keep product lines ahead of the competition. The trend is reflected in data from the inaugural salary survey compiled by Sports Recruitment International, a specialist search and recruitment consultancy.

The data underscores two key trends. Firstly, the continuing fusion between fashion and sportswear means that sportswear brands have to innovate continuously to develop new products that enable them to remain competitive against new brands moving into the sector. Secondly, the fast-growing economies of Eastern Europe and Asia offer rich potential to develop market share for those brands led by executives who combine industry skills with the language and cultural dexterity to operate effectively in these markets.

Consultants at Sports Recruitment International say that while salaries across the sector have not risen dramatically compared to other related industries, high demand for the comparatively small pool of high-calibre individuals with top-level, industry-specific skills allied to international experience means employers are having to create premium packages to attract and retain top talent. The salary survey reveals chief executives earning average salaries of £219K in the UK and €302K across Europe, with middle managers earning average salaries of between £42-£51K in the UK and between €37-€82K in Europe.

According to James Worrall of Sports Recruitment International, current salary levels reflect a number of key trends in the sector. “Brands are continuing to invest to develop products across lifestyle, performance and fashion categories with established brands working hard to compete with emerging brands,” he says. “Recruitment into the sporting goods industry from other areas, particularly the fashion and FMCG sectors, is also fuelling higher executive level salaries as employers are forced to match salary levels outside the industry to combine fresh knowledge and technical ability from more evolved sectors with their existing teams.”

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