Sport, leisure and entertainment

Hospitality, sport, leisure and tourism careers for graduates: sport, leisure and entertainment.

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The leisure industry is made up of two main areas: the health/fitness/sports side and the entertainment/recreational side.

Leisure sector careers in health, fitness and sport

Jobs in the health/fitness/sports area can be found in leisure and sports complexes, clubs, hotels, local authorities, golf courses and aquatic centres.

The number and variety of leisure and sports centres in particular has increased rapidly in recent years, with huge diversity in the types of services provided. Smaller facilities may offer little more than a gym and changing room whereas bigger operations may provide an entire suite of sports and leisure activities and equipment, treatment rooms, classes, training courses and catering facilities.

Graduate jobs in this sector include:

  • Gym manager
  • Fitness instructor
  • Fitness consultant
  • Leisure centre administrator
  • Centre/sports manager
  • Personal trainer
  • Spa therapist/manager.

Responsibilities in the health/fitness area can range from drawing up, delivering and monitoring fitness programmes for individuals and groups, to dealing with staffing, marketing and financial concerns as a manager within a gym or leisure centre.

As a sports graduate you can look for positions within the hospitality/leisure industry such as personal training and gym instructing. But, with the increased success and professionalism of sport in both the Republic and Northern Ireland in recent years, you can also look towards sports development, management or coaching roles with local authorities, sporting organisations, colleges and clubs.

As the government seeks to increase the level of participation in sport, and to promote healthier lifestyles, there will likely be a continuing demand for professionals in this area.

Leisure sector careers in entertainment and recreation

Jobs in this area can be found in cultural organisations, cinemas, parks, music venues and all recreational locations.

For these jobs, you need to show initiative as well as having organisational, teamwork, problem-solving and, of course, people skills. Graduate jobs include:

  • Cinema manager
  • Theme park manager
  • Entertainments co-ordinator.

Qualifications and skills

Third-level qualifications are required for many jobs within this industry, particularly where the role requires a specific set of skills (eg fitness instructor). Many of those in senior management roles will have completed diploma or degree courses in a relevant business/management discipline to supplement their industry experience. Postgraduate training can be of benefit to you if you are looking to progress to senior management roles.


Graduate salaries in the health/fitness industry tend to range from €20,000-€25,000 depending on experience. This can increase to €30,000-€50,000 for senior managers, again depending on experience and location. Managerial salaries in entertainment/recreational venues can vary greatly depending on size or venue, type of event and available funding. Graduate salaries for sport officers and coaches can also vary greatly depending on funding, although you could expect a salary of €20,000-€25,000 in publicly-funded roles.

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