Former athletes finish first in race for top jobs
Posted by Dean Holden at July 6th, 2014
by Melissa Osgood, 17 June 2014
Whether you were a quarterback or point guard, past participation in competitive team sports marks you as a winner in the competition for better jobs, according to a new Cornell University study.
“Participation in competitive youth sports ‘spills over’ to occupationally advantageous traits that persist across a person’s life,” says Kevin M. Kniffin, postdoctoral research associate at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and lead researcher.
Research by Kniffen and his co-authors, published online this week in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, shows that people who played a varsity high school sport are expected to be more self-confident, have more self-respect, and demonstrate more leadership than people who were part of other extracurricular activities.
Former varsity athletes also reported significantly higher prosocial volunteerism and charitable activities. Also, many ex-jock octogenerians parlayed 65-year-old leadership skills into successful management careers — some at the highest level.
“In our study of late-career workers, those who earned a varsity letter more than 50 years ago do demonstrate these characteristics more than others — plus, they donate time and money more frequently than others and possessed great prosocial behavior in their 70s, 80s, and 90s,” said Kniffin.
- K. M. Kniffin, B. Wansink, M. Shimizu. Sports at Work: Anticipated and Persistent Correlates of Participation in High School Athletics. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/1548051814538099