Former Varsity Athletes More Likely To Land Better Jobs, Study


Adults who played a varsity high school sport are likely to be more self-confident, have more self-respect and show leadership qualities than those who were part of other extracurricular activities, according to a new Cornell University study.

Researchers said that as a result these former athletes have higher chances of landing top jobs.

They also said that players, who received a varsity letter more than 50 years ago, also possess considerably higher prosocial volunteerism, behaviour and charitable activities in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. They donated time and money more often than others.

"Participation in competitive youth sports 'spills over' to occupationally advantageous traits that persist across a person's life," said Kevin M. Kniffin, postdoctoral research associate at Cornell's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and lead researcher, in a press release.

Researchers said that some 43 percent of current high school seniors participate in sports.

For the study, the researchers surveyed 66 adults (41 were women, average age was 39 years, and a third had high school sports experience) about leadership abilities and character traits. The participants were asked as to what kind of employee is most likely to display self-confidence, leadership, time-management skills, volunteerism, charitable behavior and self-respect. They had to choose between adults who played varsity basketball in high school, cross-country sport, trombone in the school band or participated in the yearbook club.

The researchers found that past participation in competitive sports made adults more self-confident leaders with a lot of self-respect.

The study titled "Sports at Work: Anticipated and Persistent Correlates of Participation in High School Athletics", is published in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies.

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