“The Great Resignation” and what sports has to do with it?

Yes, the trend of “The Great Resignation”, is real: over 3.4% of the US workforce are leaving their jobs every month since September 2021. While most research corelates the massive quit rate with the Pandemic, some suggest that this is a massive and possibly irreversible trend rooted deeper then post-covid consequences. According to some leading HR surveys, today more than 45% of employees work remotely (25% full time), which means changing jobs is a simple as getting a new email address. US companies today spend 32% of their entire payroll on benefits and most are totally redesigning them to improve healthcare, flexibility, and education.

Employees are migrating from “crummy jobs” to “better jobs” and from “companies that don’t seem to care” to “companies that really really care.”

The Great Resignation may not be sweeping America in quite the same way that Covid-19 did, but just like the pandemic, it is leaving no industry untouched - including sports. Indeed, the leisure and hospitality industry has been hit harder than any other.

Sport existed, for much of 2020 and 2021, as nothing more than a TV show. No spectators, no vendors, no hype, no merch. Fans could watch games, but not in the manner or environment they were used to. As a result, there were limited roles and hours available for stadium staff. As for sports clubs’ office-based staff, most ended up working from home with not very much to do.

For an industry that has traditionally offered comparatively low wages, this could only end badly. Generations of owners have relied on passionate fans wanting to break into the industry to save on wages. For many of those devoted employees, fear about their future and time to reflect on their work life balance turned their heads. The same role in other industries can be far more rewarding. And the Great Resignation has left many sports clubs reeling from what can only be described as an own goal.

Professional sport has suffered two years of falling revenue alongside back-office resignations. With pro sport now back up and running almost as normal, there is pressure on clubs to generate revenue. To achieve that aim, clubs are focusing their recruitment on filling sponsorship, ticket sales and business analytics roles.

Throughout the industry, data analytics and AI are key drivers for the future. New England Patriots have an army of analysts closely monitoring fan behaviour, multiple sports teams are using data analysts to drive results on the pitch, and sports ‘brands’ re driving social media engagement through immersive fan experiences.

In an industry ravaged by Covid and the Great Resignation, analytics is a beacon of hope. Indeed, the sports analytics industry is predicted to be worth almost $4bn next year.

Most vendors and stadium staff weren’t able to work throughout the pandemic so sought other income streams. The gig economy, in particular food delivery services, thrived during the pandemic and those seeking alternative employment, in the absence of professional sport, seized that opportunity.

When sport returned, many of this new generation of gig workers decided not to come back for game days. The flexibility and autonomy offered by the gig economy provides workers with greater control over their time than the demanding and seemingly relentless professional sports calendar.

The recent resumption of baseball in America saw the New York Mets relying on busloads of staff traveling two and a half hours from Philadelphia to ensure fans could enjoy the full matchday experience with merch and refreshments.

Pro sport look sets to suffer from a lack of human resources for the foreseeable future, but that has opened other doors.

Data scientists and sports Analytics and the support of volunteers is seen as the key to success until the larger picture is clear.

The great resignation situation in Israel is not clear yet as it is in the US and here, in Israel,

We keep on organizing the Maccabiah games to be held on July 2022. They are the 2nd-largest international sporting event in the world by number of competitors (after the Olympics) following by the World University Games and the FIFA World Cup.

Over 10,000 of our athletes compete on behalf of 85 countries, in more than 40 different sports and luckily, our dedicated stuff is supported by thousands of community volunteers. 

Maccabi World Union & the Maccabiah Headquarters keep on following the news and trends as we care for the well-being of our staff, communities & members worldwide. We sure hope that working and volunteering in the Maccabiah games will continue to be meaningful activity rather than part of the great resignation wave.