The sports industry has become a growing competitive market place, with sport itself increasingly utilised as a tool for social, political and economic development. As a result, opportunities in sport are growing in many previously inaccessible areas and a growing population of candidates are now looking further afield to seek employment in order to learn and develop their skills. But what factors need to be considered before taking the step abroad in your sports industry career?
Where should I go?
Working abroad is about far more than just what countries you would like to visit. Although that is a start, investigate where there could be opportunities that fit with your future career aspirations. Different markets and sectors will have different strengths, and with a demanding economic climate, particularly in Europe, the more traditional oversees options may now not be as strong for candidates as the emerging industry markets.
- America: Can be especially difficult to access without specialist skills;
- Europe: Many areas have become stagnant with high unemployment due to difficult economic climates;
- Middle East: In some areas can be politically challenging and unstable. However there are many hotspots in this region that present excellent opportunities;
- Asia: With the region being hugely diverse, there are multiple opportunities and challenges for everyone.
How is it going to help my career ambitions?
Ultimately, it goes back to career planning – where do you see yourself in the future and how is working internationally going to help you achieve this?
There can be great advantages to working abroad. International experience demonstrates your flexibility and shows that you have the ability to adapt to different cultures and environments. It also gives you the opportunity to establish and build a network of international contacts which may prove to be an advantage in an ever-increasingly global market in the future.
How can I add value to the market?
To be able to add value to a particular region in sport, candidates need to have a thorough awareness of the local markets and an understanding of how to conduct and deliver businesses in that culture. Research what organisations are out there and what skills and experience you can offer the business. Finding a job abroad isn’t easy – you need to be able to sell yourself.
Will it work for me?
On top of all these factors, you also need to consider the key practicalities of moving abroad:
- How much do you expect to earn?
- Where will you live?
- How long do you want to be out there?
- What are the cultural challenges (e.g. language, religion, professionals)?
Although a lack of local language does not need to be a barrier to finding work, being able to speak some of the dialect will help you integrate more easily.
Also research on local customs, immigration procedures and other crucial aspects of the culture that will affect your travel and time in a new country.
You need to determine whether working abroad is truly the right career path for you. To succeed internationally, candidates must have the ambition and drive to seek out new challenges and the confidence to make the most of being in a new region. If you’ve done the appropriate research, have an awareness of how you can fit into the market and are ready to fully immerse yourself in a new culture, then working abroad may be the right decision for you.