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Journal cover: Personnel Review

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Online from: 1971

Subject Area: Human Resource Management

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Beyond the playing field: the role of athletic participation in early career success

Document Information:
Title:Beyond the playing field: the role of athletic participation in early career success
Author(s):Stephen Sauer, (Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, USA), Scott Desmond, (Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, USA), Martin Heintzelman, (Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, USA)
Citation:Stephen Sauer, Scott Desmond, Martin Heintzelman, (2013) "Beyond the playing field: the role of athletic participation in early career success", Personnel Review, Vol. 42 Iss: 6, pp.644 - 661
Keywords:Athletics, Career success, Emotional intelligence, Mentoring, Quantitative
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/PR-08-2012-0149 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – This paper aims to examine how participation in varsity athletics during college affects career success in the first decade after graduation. The paper predicted that student-athletes would develop greater mentoring skills and emotional intelligence, leading to higher starting salaries as they enter the professional workforce and faster rates of salary growth as their careers progress.

Design/methodology/approach – Cross-sectional nationwide survey study.

Findings – The paper finds that former collegiate athletes score higher on measures of mentoring and emotional intelligence and have higher salaries through the first ten years of their careers than their non-athlete counterparts. The paper also finds that there are significant interaction effects for gender, such that male athletes score higher than male non-athletes on measures of mentoring and emotional intelligence, while female athletes score the same as non-athletes on these measures. Gender also impacted salary differences, such that at the start of their careers, female student-athletes enjoyed a significant salary boost relative to male athletes and both male and female non-athletes, but saw this advantage decrease within five years and disappear altogether by the time they had worked ten years.

Originality/value – This study highlights the ways in which participation in collegiate sports affects student-athletes, and how these effects differ for men and women. These findings are worthy of continued investigation and should encourage scholars to question how activities beyond the classroom might affect students' preparation for life and careers after college.

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