Experts reveal UK skill-gaps in Sport and Physical Activity industry

Physical therapy is named the most in-demand hard skill in the Sport and Physical Activity (S&PA) industry.

With its high demand, physical therapy skills have the largest skill gap in the industry. CIMSPA is encouraging professionals to train up in 2022 in physical therapy.

Rehabilitation skills has the second biggest gap between employer demand and employee supply in the industry.

Management, teaching and first aid skills have been named as the three most in-demand soft skills in the industry

With skill set development being limited to Zoom and digital learning, 2022 looks to offer a little bit of a shining light for people looking to take part in in-person training courses. But where should fitness professionals focus their training efforts this year?

CIMSPA (The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) have used data from EMSI, labour market analysis specialists, to reveal the most in-demand skills within the Sport and Physical Activity industry ( ).

Hard Skill #1 – Physical Therapy

The most in-demand hard skill in the industry is Physical Therapy, the art of treating injury through a variety of active ways. 27% of job postings for roles in the industry feature the skill but only 3% of applicant profiles have mentions of it throughout.

Hard Skill #2 -Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation, the act of restoring someone’s health or fitness to normal through training, is the second most in-demand specific skill in the industry. Employers mentioned the skill in 10% of all job descriptions between 2016 and 2021 whilst only 1% of applications contained mentions.

Hard Skill #3 -Physiology

Having understanding of how the human body works is, of course, a necessity in the S&PA industry – it appeared in almost 25,000 job descriptions over the past five years. But, according to the EMSI data, it looks as if potential employees could do with brushing up on their physiological knowledge with 1% of application profiles mentioning the skill.

Soft Skill #1 – Communications

The most in-demand soft skill in the industry is communication through all channels. Whether it is verbal, written or digital communication, talking to professionals and clients is an important aspect of jobs within S&PA. Over a quarter of all jobs demand this is absolutely necessary when applying for jobs.

Soft Skill #2 – Enthusiasm

The second most common buzzword in S&PA job descriptions was ‘enthusiasm’. Around a fifth of all job descriptions within the industry demand enthusiasm. Whether that is for leading management teams or motivating with clients on the gym-floor, enthusiasm is a must.

Soft Skill #3 – Management

Management is also amongst the most in-demand soft skills in the S&PA industry. The art of curating processes and dealing with people appeared in 17% job postings between the start of 2016 and the end of 2021.

Soft Skills in S&PA v Other Industries

When analysing in-demand soft skills in the sport and physical activity industry against other sectors in the UK we can see how the demand changes.

Having sufficient sales skills appears much higher in national averages. Sales is the third most important skill in the UK when considering all industries, it is S&PA’s 7th most important.

Boasting high energy is a skill which ranks outside the top 25 for the most in-demand in the UK when looking at all job postings. Unsurprisingly however, in the S&PA industry it ranks within the top 10. High energy seems to be key to successes in the industry.

As many employers become up to speed with new ways of working, both remotely and in-person, the demand for new and developed skills will no-doubt be fluid also. Up-skilling leads to improved industry growth, an empowered workforce and solid future for an industry the country leans on more than it may, on the surface, realise.

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