More employers than ever took part in the 2018 skills survey which helps to provide the evidence and direction for future qualification and skills development of fitness professionals. The 2018 survey included a notable increase in the number of larger clubs and chains that took part. Some of the main findings include:
As reported in 2017 (and a trend in recent years), only 16% of employers find it easy or very easy to recruit the trainers they want to work in their clubs.
The overall most important skills that an employer looks for are for personal/communication skills and customer service skills (97% and 94%). Technical skills remain very important, whilst digital skills are low in the list of requirements at just 53%.
Employers have high expectations that when they are recruiting they need trainers who are willing to learn, and who are well-presented.
A trend that has shown a steady increase over time is the requirement for employers to have to undertake additional training with new recruits and in 2018 67% report that this happens nearly always, or always with new recruits.
The top three main missing skills in new recruits are in customer service (51%, an increase on previous years), personal and communication skills (44%) and specific technical skills to be a personal trainer (40%).
90% of employers returning the survey said that they think personal trainers should have additional education/training to work with special populations including children, older adults, in pre and post-natal, and with diabetics and over-weight clients.
Following an increasing trend in recent years, 79% of employers now think that it would help if there was an agreed European standard for certifying personal trainers and group fitness trainers.
Recognition of EREPS remains quite high with 53% reporting that they are aware of the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS).
As identified in previous years, the main skills gaps for personal trainers remains in the areas of inter-personal skills and in the ability to work with a more diverse customer base whilst technical skills training seems to be generally satisfactory. The continued high level of expectation for harmonisation of qualifications (certification) of fitness trainers at a European level supports the work that EuropeActive has initiated through EU funded project activities to create a sector qualification framework and with the implementation of EREPS.
The results of the 2018 employer skills survey will feed into the work of EuropeActive’s new project Blueprint for skills cooperation and employment that started in January. This is helping to build the permanent structures and processes to continue with the development of skills and human resources for the European fitness sector.