The sport and leisure activities sector offers a range of career opportunities to graduates

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

It can be very helpful to gain related work experience to complement your degree. For example, you could work in the sport and leisure industry as a fitness instructor or in an administrative role. It may also be possible to gain marketing or events management experience, perhaps through university societies or voluntary work.

Work experience and travel opportunities can be combined during the vacation periods by working for organisations such as:

Portfolio working can help you to develop the skills and experience you need to progress and boost your CV. This can be achieved by working in a variety of short-term roles and at sporting events or at smaller, local occasions.

Internships and volunteering are other valuable ways of gaining experience. Try youth sport volunteering if you are interested in coaching, or find an opportunity to staff a sports event if you want to pursue a management role.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Employers include:

  • cinema and entertainment complexes
  • fitness and leisure centres
  • hotels and accommodation facilities
  • spas.

Sport and leisure management graduates are also finding opportunities at:

  • event management companies - producing festivals, concerts, exhibitions and corporate or private parties
  • leisure management consultancies - providing advice to the public and private sector on how best to manage their sports and leisure facilities.

After gaining experience some graduates establish sports consultancy businesses, or set up sports camps or training centres. Personal training is a popular option and can provide quite a lucrative and flexible working lifestyle. The downside of this type of arrangement can be financial unpredictability if client numbers decrease unexpectedly.

Find information on employers in leisure, sport and tourism, charity and voluntary work and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Sport and leisure management studies offers an excellent grounding in business skills, including:

  • finance
  • business planning and strategy
  • human resources
  • physical resources management
  • marketing
  • legal matters (health and safety)
  • customer service.

These are all highly transferable skills and can lead to a management role in any sector.

Although sport and leisure management is a highly vocational course, the fact that you gain an understanding of issues relating to psychology, sociology and social policy means you could move into roles within the public sector, such as policy planning, community development and social work.

Your course will teach you technical skills, and the practical assignments and placements will provide you with hands-on experiences in public, private and voluntary sector environments.

Further study

Around 10% of sport and leisure management graduates pursue full-time or part-time further study, with half of those combining study and work.

Some take postgraduate courses in order to specialise in a particular area such as arts and culture or events management. Others may take postgraduate courses to specialise in a vocational area, such as teaching.

Many graduates choose to study for the professional qualifications offered by the Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (IMSPA) or those listed by the sector skills councils:

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search for postgraduate courses in sport management.

What do sport and leisure management graduates do?

Sports coaches, instructors and officials are the top jobs held by graduates in employment in the UK six months after graduation.

Other occupations include conference and exhibition managers and organisers and marketing associate professionals.

Further study9.4
Working and studying4.3
Graduate destinations for sport and leisure management
Type of workPercentage
Marketing, PR and sales20.9
Technicians and other professionals20.5
Retail, catering and bar work10.2
Business, HR and financial9.8
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.