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Employment in Sport in the EU

In 2020, 1.3 million people were employed in the field of sport in the EU, accounting for 0.7% of total employment. The EU countries with the highest share of people working in the field of sport were Sweden (1.6%), Finland (1.4%), Spain and the Netherlands (both 1.0%).

Between 2015 and 2020, employment in sport rose on average by 1.6% each year, compared with +0.8% for total employment. This represents an increase of around 100 000 people employed in sports, with Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany accounting for more than half of this increase. During this period, the number of people employed in sport increased in 21 out of 27 EU countries. Nevertheless, in 2020, employment in sport decreased 4.0% in comparison with 2019, against -1.3% recorded for total employment.

Sport employment as a share of total employment, 2015 and 2020  (Click Chart)

When it comes to age, 33% of those employed are young (aged 15-29), almost twice the share observed for overall employment (17%). People aged 30-64 represented the biggest share of workers in this field (64%; 16 percentage points less than the share reported for total employment).

Women accounted for 43% of EU employment in the field of sport, reflecting the structure of the total employed population (46% of women).

Infographic:employment in sport in the EU in comparison with overall employment

Source datasets: sprt_emp_sexsprt_emp_agesprt_emp_edu

For more information:

  • Statistics Explained article on Employment in sport.
  • Eurostat Sport database
  • Eurostat dedicated section on Sport
  • Employment in sport includes sport-related occupations in the sports sector e.g. professional athletes, professional coaches in fitness centres, non-sport occupations in the sports sector, e.g. receptionists in fitness centres, and sport-related jobs outside the sports sector, e.g. school sport instructors.

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