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Sport & Recreation Jobs

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FitNZ’s niche is the Fitness and Exercise Industry in New Zealand.

About the Sport & Recreation Industry in New Zealand

Sport and community recreation brings people together, promotes an active and healthy population, builds individual wellbeing and resilience, and maintains cohesive communities.


In New Zealand, sport and community recreation professionals ideally have a range of flexible and transferable skills including self-management, planning, leadership, goal-setting, perseverance and teamwork.

Sport and Recreation Sector Organisation

The sport and community recreation industry encompasses non-profit, private and government organisations, from grassroots through to national bodies. The work of these organisations can be grouped into three streams: facilities such as swimming pools, parks and open spaces; the management and delivery of sport and recreation programmes and/or events; and coaching/officiating of teams and individual athletes.

Growth in Sport and Recreation

There were 10,931 business units in the sport and community recreation industry in 2016, up from 10,481 five years earlier, an average increase of 0.8% per annum. Business unit growth over this period was lower than in the total economy (1.5% per annum).

The Impact of Sport and Recreation on the New Zealand Economy

Paid employment in the sport and community recreation industry reached 34,394 in 2016, compared to 23,811 in 2000 and employment in the sport and community recreation industry is forecast to grow to 41,062 by 2021.


Between 2011 and 2016 employment in the sport and community recreation industry grew by an average of 1.4% per annum, compared with total employment growth of 1.9% per annum.


However, in the two years to 2016, employment growth in the sport and community recreation industry was higher than the total economy (3.2% per annum compared to 2.7% per annum in the total economy).


The sport and community recreation industry contributed $2.343 billion to New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016. This equates to 1% of total GDP. In the five years to 2016, GDP in the sport and community recreation industry increased by 1.2% per annum.

Demand for Professionals

Auckland, Canterbury, Waikato, and Wellington are the biggest employers in the industry.


According to the Skills Active Workplace Survey, coaches, swim instructors and lifeguards were among the most difficult roles to recruit within the industry in 2017. Consequently, there is high demand for skilled professionals to fill these roles.


Similarly, sports and community recreation employers are pushing for more training options within the industry in the following areas:


  • Technical skills

  • Lifeguarding and swim coaching

  • Sport coaching

  • Facility operations

  • Training in new technology

  • Customer service and administration tasks

  • Tikanga and Te Reo Māori

  • Management

  • Marketing and sales

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