The perception of former high school athletes entering careers is better than perceptions of those with other kinds of extra-curricular activities on their resume, a new study finds.
Most parents and educators tout the benefits of students getting involved in extra-curricular activities. For those that are able, often that activity is sports.
At the high school level, where sports gets serious, participation has numerous benefits. Teamwork, physical fitness and leadership are all aspects of playing team sports that prove beneficial in the long term.
Numerous studies have focused on the long-term effects that come from high school sports participation. A new study published in June in the “Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies’’ explains why former high school athletes often get higher paying jobs when they become adults.
Previous research indicated that former student athletes earn more, on average, than non-sports peers. It can be as much as 15 percent more.
The new study, led by Cornell University professor Kevin Kniffin, shows that former athletes are perceived differently by employers, projecting more self-confidence, more self-respect and more leadership skills than those who may have had extracurriculars in high school and college but were not involved heavily in sports.
“People seem to activate a certain set of expectations with people who have played high school sports,’’ Kniffin said in an interview with Business Insider. Kniffin said that was true even when the evaluator was not involved in sports themselves.
Kniffin and his associates did two separate studies. In the first, participants were asked to assess what they would expect from job applicants based on information in their resumes, and several extra-curricular activities were included. The second study looked at the success of people who entered the work force after World War II and compared results based on athletic participation in high school and college.
The report indicates not only that athletes more often ended up in positions of upper management than non-athletes, they also spent more time volunteering than non-athletes.
Kniffin said the cause-and-effect is uncertain, although he noted that “participation in youth sports might function as a marker for other background traits such as family stability or general mental ability.”
Also, “being part of a team, working intensively with teammates, managing a common resource, and interacting closely with a coach where there is a common goal’’ could be factors leading to success in business.
“In effect, we find that participation in compatible youth sports appears to correspond with a set of occupationally advantageous traits that tend to persist across a person’s life,’’ the report states. “Given the popular importance of sports in many people’s lives, closer attention is overdue for understanding sports’ roles in the workplace and beyond, including later-in-life charitable giving and volunteerism.”
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.