Emerging Forms of Employment in the Sport Sector in Europe



Emerging Forms of Employment in the Sport Sector in Europe

October 2021 saw the second full partner meeting of another ground-breaking project led by the European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) exploring new characteristics and tendencies in the sport labour market in Europe. The partners had hoped to convene in Rio Maior, Portugal, but due to the COVID pandemic, they agreed to meet online. The purpose of the meeting was for partners to review progress in Phase 2 – Desk research and analysis of emerging forms of employment in the sport sector and other sectors in Europe.

Following the kick-off meeting in April, all the FORMS partners have been hard at work. Through consultation with the consortium, EOSE designed a national Desk Research Template which covered three main areas of focus: A. The legal, regulatory and policy context for new forms of employment in the country, B. New forms of employment in the country in sectors other than sport (which may be transferable to the sport sector), C. New forms of employment in the country in the sport sector. Using this common template, over a four-month period each partner carried out desk research using their own resources and sometimes engaging with national legal and employment experts. Partners submitted their findings in early October, and these were collated into a single document of more than 70 pages.

The second full partner meeting in October received presentations from the partners on their national findings and a summary analysis of the collated findings from EOSE.  The meeting provided some fascinating insights into the overall legal and regulatory environments for sport employment in each country, including in some cases collective bargaining agreements for sport. There was also much concrete evidence that new forms of employment were indeed emerging both in sport and in related sectors such as education, hospitality and retail with a strong potential for their transfer into sport. In some countries these were well-supported by employment law, but in others the legal environment made their adoption difficult if not impossible. Aurelien Favre, EOSE’s Executive Director, was also excited to announce that he had received from Eurostat national employment statistics for all member states in 2020 and was beginning the process of analysing these. He hoped that this would provide a deeper understanding of COVID’s impact on the employment in the EU sport sector.

Geoff Carroll, Director of Skills Development for EOSE said “Congratulations to the partners who researched and presented such detailed national pictures. It will take a few weeks to fully digest everything, but even at this stage some key conclusions are becoming clear. If the sport sector is to keep up with social and technological trends and retain valuable skills, we need new forms of employment to add to what we already do well and, indeed, these are beginning to emerge or develop further. In each case, we can begin to identify the advantages and disadvantages for employers and employees, and this will lead us to the good practices we seek. Lessons learned in one country will be valuable for the others and the EU as a whole. In some national contexts, employment law is complex and can discourage new employment relationships, but we can see that over time employment legislation evolves in response to changing needs, especially where employers and employees in sport can unite as a sector to influence government. This is a major positive and one which FORMS will do its best to stimulate. The other lesson we must not forget is that new forms of employment trigger new skills’ demands, especially in digital skills, social media, and new approaches to management and entrepreneurship.”

As a result of this second meeting, EOSE will continue to refine the analysis of what the partners have discovered. In parallel, the partners will begin to prepare their national roundtable meetings (planned for the first half of 2022). These forums will engage national key stakeholders, share the updated employment statistics for 2020, discover stakeholder needs, evaluate the new forms of employment for relevance to their national contexts, identify good practices and explore what needs to be done at organisational, regional and national levels to make them a reality.

Full list of partners:

>        European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) – France and EU

>        Fédération Nationale Profession Sport et Loisirs (FNPSL) – France

>        Sportwerk Vlaanderen – Belgium

>        Kortrijk Spurs – Belgium

>        International University of Health, Exercise and Sports (LUNEX) – Luxembourg

>        Werkgevers in de Sport (WOS) – Netherlands

>        Polytechnic Institute of Santarem/Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior – Portugal

Web page: www.forms-sport.eu

Contact: Geoff Carroll – EOSE Director of Skills Development – geoff.carroll@eose.org


EOSE – European Observatoire of Sport and Employment

A new wave for the sport and active leisure sector

Ensuring the right skills in the right place

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