A major Australian industry is gearing up for a jobs boom it has never seen before.
But new research indicates that almost no one knows about the projected career potential.
Sports industry experts are expecting a “golden decade”, with Australia set to host the Olympics in 2032 and the Commonwealth Games in 2026.
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Combine that with recurring annual events such as the Australian Open and Formula 1 and tens of thousands of jobs are expected to be created.
But Dr Hunter Fujak of Deakin University says hardly anyone knows the opportunities exist.
“Sports jobs are a bit like an iceberg,” he told 7NEWS.com.au.
“And part of the reason we don’t think about them is because we see the athletes on screen, but it takes a village to grow an athlete.”
Behind the scenes, he says, are people who have studied coaching, sports science, sports business and sports management.
“It’s really interesting. When we watch the Olympics, it’s the athlete who gets on the podium,” Fujak said.
“Really, it’s probably a whole team that deserves a medal.”
A Deakin University study, compiled from a survey of more than 1,000 parents and 300 high school students, found that there was a significant undercount in the number of jobs in the sports industry .
The Queensland Government predicts that over 100,000 jobs will be created locally as a result of the 2032 Olympics.
However, 40% of parents surveyed estimated that less than 5,000 jobs would be created.
Almost half of the students said the same.
Fujak said in most cases it comes down to the public perception that sport is athlete driven.
“There are so many different layers, local, state and national.
“It’s not just about supporting the athlete.”
Melbourne Vixens co-captain Kate Moloney is one such athlete at the center of attention.
But even she is studying for a career in the industry once she hangs up her runners.
“For many sports fans, roles such as sports directors, physiotherapists and coaches can feel like ‘behind the scenes’ or side roles,” she told 7NEWS.com.au.
“For athletes, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“We rely so heavily on a long list of trained sports professionals to help us achieve our goals. Without their expertise, we simply wouldn’t be able to perform at an elite level.
She said the emergence of high-profile women’s sports competitions, including the AFLW and the Women’s A-League, has spurred the growth of the industry as a whole.
“The more investment women’s sports leagues receive in Australia, the faster the industry as a whole will grow.
“It will also lead to a more inclusive Australia, increased employment opportunities and improved infrastructure in metropolitan and regional areas.”
Employment levels in the sports industry increased significantly between 2001 and 2019, according to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee.
But, in 2020, employment levels fell by almost half to 61,000.
They have recovered by 71% in 2021 to reach 104,200.
“We are coming out of a slumber,” Fujak said.
“We’ve had a downturn during COVID, but now we’re poised to bounce back with a vengeance.”