Post-Olympic blues for elite job seekers

There is growing evidence that some of the sports stars we were cheering on during the Olympic Games in London last year are in another race – for a job.

According to various media reports, many athletes have stopped competing and are now finding out that austerity Britain isn’t necessarily the best place to be looking for work.

Some say ’dozens’ of the 553 athletes who represented Team GB in London are job-hunting. At least 64 have quit their sports for a variety of reasons, while a further 24 are undecided about their futures, according to research published by the BBC.

Actually there’s nothing unusual about sportspeople retiring in the wake of an Olympic Games. Many do and have always done. So far, so normal.

There’s no question, however, that the current economic climate of austerity is not a great one to be job hunting. It’s taking a lot of former sportspeople longer to find opportunities and the jobs they might once have thought of doing are thinner on the ground than they used to be.

But retired athletes should take heart. They have a lot to offer potential employers, particularly a work ethic that’s second to none.

Georgina Harland, a former Olympian, works for the British Olympic Association. She told the BBC: “There are all sorts of natural skills that athletes just take for granted – self-confidence, leadership skills, decision-making. But they are actually very sought after.”

In case you missed it, here’s an earlier article I wrote in July 2012 on the various athlete career programmes that exist to help former sportsmen and women. It was originally written for the Royal Canoe Club website but was later republished by Sportscene and the International Canoe Federation.