Australian Sports Professional Association releases third annual National Sport Census results

Published Wed 23 Feb 2022

The Australian Sports Professionals Association (ASPA) has released the results from the 2021 National Sports Census. The Census, conducted every year since 2019, captures a truly national perspective of the Australian sports industry. The results capture the sentiment of a variety of stakeholders —including volunteers, employees, and academics - from a diverse array of organisations including clubs, state and national sporting organisations, non-profit bodies, and private enterprise.

The Census highlights key individual and organisational challenges across a range of domains as perceived by those volunteering or working in the sports industry. Respondents’ annual participation in the Census allows the Australian Sports Professionals Association to identify trends over time, thus building a longitudinal representation of sentiments across sport.

The 2021 Census captured the sentiment of almost 1,000 people working or volunteering in sport. These individuals represented 77 different types of sport, a sizeable increase from the 52 types recognised in the 2020 Census.

While a substantial number of respondents still listed COVID-19 as a major factor likely to impact the Australian sporting industry, the Census indicated that 2021 was the first year back to 'somewhat regular' operations for many organisations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was reflected in substantially more positive sentiment towards the direction of the industry with 46% of respondents feeling positive (compared to 36% in 2020).

Perceived gradual improvements in gender equality in sport, the overwhelming desire from the general public for sport to return, and the large number of major international sporting events due to be held in Australia up to and including the 2032 Olympics were major reasons listed for an optimistic outlook.

Expanding on sentiment expressed in the 2020 Census, respondents saw this as a critical time for sport in Australia, which could lead to positive outcomes if organisations and individuals embrace change. Respondents reflected that failure to adapt and enhance the way sport is delivered within Australia runs the risk of a substantial loss of capacity due to unsustainable funding models, a loss of volunteers, and the grassroots seeking alternative options to fill their fitness and social needs.

“The Census provides a detailed picture of the sentiment of those working in sport sport. By comparing trends across states, sports and organisations we are able to look forward at ways the industry can be improved” states Ryan Agar, General Manager, Membership & Services at the Australian Sports Professionals Association.

This census will be released annually to allow for further trend analysis.

A full copy of the Census results are available to all ASPA members. To support our industry during these turbulent times, membership for 2022 will be complimentary for all individuals working for volunteering in sport.

You can access the complete results HERE.

The Australian Sports Professionals Association was launched in February 2019 to further provide networking & collaboration opportunities for individuals within the sporting industry, regardless of their role or size of their organisation. The objective is to promote a culture of communication and collaboration between individuals and organisations leading to greater efficiencies and innovation within our industry.