After so much anticipation, Christmas and the festive season passed by in what felt like the blink of an eye. Back to life, back to reality.
It’s around this time that many of us make (and some ultimately fail to stick to) New Year’s resolutions. After a couple of weeks of Christmas parties and over-indulgence, fitness often ranks high on people’s resolutions.
This results in more gym memberships so that any lingering guilt from that extra shortbread you snaffled can be eradicated. In the health and fitness industry – which has never been more vibrant – how important are recruitment agencies?
Fitness industry buoyant
To understand the need for recruiters in this sector, it is worth looking at the involvement in the Sport, Recreation & Leisure industry. We’ve pored over the stats so that you don’t have to but one thing is clear: Its popularity has never been higher.
This is apparent from research carried out by the Leisure Database Company – a leading independent database specialist who provides key market intelligence and analysis throughout the fitness industry.
Their 2016 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report, shows that fitness is in great health; the number of clubs and members who frequent them have flourished.
There are many standout statistics which highlight the potential need that gyms across the country will have for staff, and therefore why recruitment agencies continue to play a key role.
Firstly, for the very first time, the number of gym members in the UK has exceeded nine million. This 5.3% rise obviously means there are less members of staff per person to monitor and advise where necessary.
In the 12 months to March 2016, the number of fitness facilities in the UK has risen from 6,312 to 6,435 in the UK – an increase of 1.9%.
The trend in public and private fitness clubs is also upwardly mobile; in 2015, 191 of these fitness facilities opened up, while in 2016, that number went up to 224.
There are many reasons why memberships have increased. The influence of low cost gyms such as Puregym cannot be understated – having opened an extra 60 clubs in the past 12 months, the low cost fitness operator finds itself as the UK’s number one gym provider.
Numbers are swelled by the fact that nowadays, there are more ways to join a gym than there ever has been.
Rather than just sorting out your membership by person, people can join online, many facilities are open longer which makes it convenient for people to get to, gyms have marketing ploys such as reduced membership prices, ‘refer a friend’ deals, and email campaigns.
In a society where physical health is highlighted due to the ageing population and pressure on public services, it is easy to see why people are hooked in.
David Minton, Director of The Leisure Database Company, explained that all these factors contribute to such high numbers of gym membership.
“This is a great set of results for the industry. The uplift in each core index shows the potential when technology, innovation and customer-centric fitness products come together.”
Importance of health and fitness recruitment agencies
The result is a reliance/need for recruiters. This doesn’t necessarily just mean for roles focused specifically on fitness. As demand thrives, many gyms will need office staff and sales professionals.
There are a host of reasons why agencies are so important. They can help guard against the pitfalls and cost of making a bad hire. After all, who has better expertise in finding skilled candidates – and possesses the contacts of suitable potential employees – than the businesses who hire staff for a living?
As we will touch on, January is an especially busy time for the health and fitness industry. As such, their resources and time of gym employees may not stretch to finding employees who are desperately needed to handle the surge in memberships and enquiries.
A recruiter specifically targets the skilled people to fill positions needed at this time, and the various gyms can then relax knowing this is their best chance of finding the right candidate.
We know, it’s not an exact science, and sometimes things can go wrong. Yet, this is the case whether a leisure and fitness employer undertakes recruitment themselves, or leaves this to an agency.
What can’t be in doubt is that the recruitment agency will not only minimise the chances of a bad hire, they will cut costs; it will cost a chain of gymnasiums much more if they are independently recruiting and their efforts are unsuccessful.
Instead, by leaving it to the agency, funds will be saved in advertising costs and because this won’t be taking up the time of existing staff and management, it means productivity will be higher.
Ultimately, it will allow the various gyms and fitness suites to focus on clients at this time of year, which is imperative, especially in the face of increasing demand.
Why you should use health and fitness recruitment agencies
Put simply, the range of demands placed on employers in the health, leisure and fitness sectors intensifies around the New Year. These areas of industry are becoming even more professional and popular, which makes competition for staff fierce.
Therefore, agencies are helpful for a variety of reasons.
Help to get procedures in place
Like many industries that have to be prepared for spikes in demand during the year, it pays to put procedures in place.
It comes as no surprise that January provides its own challenges. Luke Hughes is the co-founder of Origym, which provides personal training courses as well as gym membership.
He highlighted the huge change in demand: “For our gym memberships, eight times as many people purchase a membership in January than December, and it is the busiest time of year.”
The challenge is to be proactive, rather than reactive. Procedures need to be put in place before this month – something we’re sure all you eager beavers out there have done.
If you haven’t, it’s worthwhile knowing that recruitment agencies in this sector can help you set a strategy, pinpointing the type of staff needed and for how long they will be required for the anticipated rush.
Of course, some employers will be have the staff and resources to do their own job searches – indeed, Origym is one of these. But for many others, agencies can help you target the staff needed.
Staff recruitment in the health and fitness industry
I must confess that when I hear that a gym needs more employees, my mind automatically thinks fitness instructors are required.
However, while that may be the case, there are an abundance of other fitness-related jobs that will need filling – something that an agency is adept at.
Extra members in January means extra classes on the timetable which, according to Luke Hughes, is “to cater for the increase in supply and demand just after the new year.” For this, Group Fitness Instructors are needed.
This is entirely expected, but what about other occupations?
Again, recruitment agencies will cater for these. As Luke at Origym pointed out, in order to meet procedures and ensure the business is finely tuned for the turn of the year, “this means always hiring new Sales staff.”
At a time when memberships are on the rise, while other revenue goals and sales targets will be in place, it means an uptake in sales staff.
The agencies who work with health and fitness companies will know how to fine tune the job search to their needs. While this may include permanent members of staff, lots of contracts will be seasonal and on a short term basis.
And while an employer can find these, at a time of higher workload, agencies are on hand to find the right candidate for a particular contract; remember, a short term contract will not be ideal for all, but the recruiter will be well versed at finding candidates for whom these contracts are.
Additional use of gym equipment may mean the need for extra Service Technicians. The same can be said for the Maintenance Staff who look after the various machines, while Receptionists will also be needed to greet the influx of New Year diehards.
Step forward……recruiters. At the risk of repetition, but for all these roles, agencies will have a healthy list of candidates to help you with your staffing needs at this demanding time of year.
Should I use a health and fitness recruitment agency?
It’s a no-brainer, really.
In January, more than any other time of the year, gyms all over the country will be inundated with enquiries by people looking to embark on a healthy, post-Christmas lifestyle, in addition to those looking to get back on the health wagon that was vacated to make room for festive season merriment.
In the context of the industry being at its most popular ever, and all signs suggesting this trend will continue, employers need all the help they can get.
This is where recruitment agencies come into their own in this industry, helping to:
- Deliver your business strategy.
- Find staff quickly and efficiently.
- Save your company money.
- Take the strain off your time and resources.
- Increase overall productivity.
Recruiters can and will help the fitness industry cope with a hectic January and beyond, ensuring it really is a Happy New Year.