Sports Recruitment International's Chief Operating Officer, Jim Chaplin, provides an analysis of the state of the sports industry jobs market, the impact of the London Olympics, explains why football clubs recruitment approaches are often flawed and rates SRI's performance at the half way mark of 2012.
Q. As we approach the half way mark of 2012, how would you summarise 2012 so far for Sports Recruitment International?
A. We’re really pleased with how the year has gone so far: we’ve worked on some really interesting assignments for a terrific range of clients. We’ve made placements across the globe and our international offices all continue to go from strength to strength.
Q. How confident are you in the future growth potential of the jobs market in the sports industry?
A. Very! There are some very talented professionals already operating in the industry who are running very sophisticated and effective organisations. However, I firmly believe that there is plenty of untapped potential out there too. The positive side of the current economic situation has been to force many employers to look carefully and critically at how they are operating, how they are structured and how they can do better commercially. Inevitably, part of any solution is related to staffing and I think that we will see over the next decade that the battle for talent in the industry intensifies strongly.
Q. What impact do you think the Olympics will have on the jobs market?
A. The job market for roles in sport has always been very competitive and whilst there will be a strong flow of excellent people on the market later this year in London, there will be still be good opportunities for strong candidates, particularly away from London. I actually think that the Olympics will have a very positive impact on the industry which will result in greater opportunities for people seeking careers in sport in the future. In addition, a number of corporate sponsors have invested strongly in the Olympics. Post games, I believe there will be some exciting openings for other sports to benefit from new investment and support.
Q. What are the strengths of the Sports Recruitment International team?
A. I believe that our strongest asset is our passion for, and understanding of, the sports industry. We are all united in our belief that the industry needs to continue to attract new talent and then develop and retain it. Consequently, we are proactive and imaginative in our search strategies and fortunate to be able to share ideas with colleagues from across our international network. There is a lot of knowledge in the team here and a real commitment to push the boundaries and work as hard as we can to source the best possible candidates for our clients.
Q. And the weaknesses?
A. Because of the attractiveness of so many of our jobs, we are required to handle approaches from vast numbers of candidates and it is a real challenge for the team to be able to respond quickly and then keep in contact with such large numbers of applicants. This is something we are working hard to improve.
Secondly, some employers don’t appreciate just how much senior level work we have done over the past couple of years and we have to work harder to ensure that this is communicated more effectively to the market.
Q. What are the company’s key strategic aims moving forward?
A. We need to continue to establish ourselves as the leading provider of talent to the sports industry at all levels. Our new senior consulting and executive search service, SR Partners, will continue to focus on board level appointments and advice, whilst SR Digital, our online “advertise direct” service for employers will continue to evolve, particularly at the more junior end of the industry.
We will also continue to explore new areas where our expertise will be of value to employers. For example, we believe that the process conducted by football clubs to recruit managers, coaches and medical staff is often flawed and a contributory factor to the high levels of turnover in this area. The League Managers Association estimated that managerial changes alone cost English clubs around £99m in 2010-2011. Increasingly, clubs are recognising that conducting a hurried, narrow recruitment exercise is a false economy.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?
A. I enjoy the diversity of our work both in terms of levels of seniority and type of clients. This year I’ve worked for the likes of Sportfive, Yorkshire CCC, Brighton & Hove Albion FC, the Premier League, FIFA, the RFU & the ICC. Given my legal recruitment background, I still get to spend plenty of time recruiting lawyers for roles in sport and I’ve enjoyed building our legal practice at SRI.
I also enjoy working with our team here. We’ve got some really talented recruiters and some interesting personalities meaning that things are rarely dull!
Q. Favourite sports:
A. Cricket, Football (Ipswich Town & Tonbridge Angels FC), Golf, Tennis.
Q. What in your opinion has been the sporting highlight of the past 12 months?
A. The last five minutes of the Premier League season.
Q. What sporting event are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months?
A. I think the England v South Africa series will be fantastic. The two best bowling attacks in the world going head to head should make for some great cricket.