YOUTH SPORTS INDUSTRY SURVEY: Labor Shortage & Wages

Photo by Alliance Football Club on Unsplash
  • Staff-to-kid ratios
  • Offer programs
  • Deliver on other roadmap goals
  • Hit revenue or fundraising goals
  1. The percentage of people who are participating in our labor force has modestly declined (~2%) in the last two years. This is a long-term trend, punctuated by the pandemic. BLS Data EPI Data
  2. Birth rates are lower now and the percentage of the labor pool that is younger and historically considered the entry level is lower. The percentage of workers over 55 is increasing. BLS Projections
  3. Many governments printed a lot of money during the Pandemic, expanding M2, driving inflation, which shifted wages higher, especially at the lower end of compensation. M2 Inflation Rate CPI Target Min Wage
  4. Tech returns for Venture Capital and Private Equity firms continue to be extremely strong, which drives a lot of investment, which drives competitive tech hiring and wage inflation. VC Investments Tech Salaries
  • Invest time, processes and tech on recruiting. Consider an Applicant Tracking System to get organized, professional and best process the best candidates.
  • Compensation increases — Many of us don’t have the means, but the difference between setting the right comp and being slightly under market may create wildly different outcomes when hiring. Do research on what your local market comparable comp levels are.
  • Expand age (informal) parameters — With fewer folks in the workforce and fewer skewing younger in American demographics, it may be time to be creative about how we think about filling roles. There are more workers over 55 now. We have lots of coach roles to fill. Is there a fit there? Highly ranked colleges are more competitive than ever to get into and many high school students are looking for interesting internships. Is there an intern program that we can put in place that values a great experience rather than great compensation?
  • Expand geographic parameters — Clearly a coach can’t work from home, but are their roles in your org that can? Does that change open up opportunities like allowing hiring in untapped cities or even new countries?
  • Referral bonuses — Referral bonuses create a great path to bringing friends to the office and building culture while building a team. Some companies find referral bonuses work against diversity goals, so see what works for you.
  • Reignite volunteering — For the nonprofits, it’s often hard to find great volunteers, but as labor costs go up, it may be worth doubling down on making the roles engaging and recruiting strong volunteer talent. YMCA tips article 2
  • Expense shifting — This may sound like an odd one, but in triage situations, focusing on what is most important is everything. Can we hire more here, or increase comp there to enable more effective hiring if we cut back somewhere else that is less critical to the org? What is critical? What is core? What is not?
  • Culture & Perks — Our local Flag team offered volunteer coaches nothing last year and then changed to $50 off registration for their kid this year. It helped. One company offers a $65 per month wellness stipend that you can use on gym membership, running shoes or whatever helps you stay healthy. There are many ideas and many that are relatively inexpensive that go a long way in helping a candidate feel like this is the team for them.
  • Proactively increase compensation — Typically being proactive is more effective and much less expensive than reactive. Overall hiring needs are obviously not just who is in hiring your plan but also who you lose. Spending time on identifying any rockstars within your organization that you wouldn’t want to lose (and maybe those who you wouldn’t mind losing) is an important step.
  • Work flexibility — The pandemic put many of us into survival mode. Work from home, juggle kids, deal with online, cancellations, and everything else that came with it. No science here, but it feels that many of us have much more integrated home and work lives now vs more compartmentalized and time-boxed pre-pandemic. Linkedin Blog
  • Help the team advance and add skills –One of the best ways to help and retain your team at the same time is to help them develop themselves. Building skills Talent Development

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