Better public health and fitness awareness has helped to create growth in jobs within the leisure industry.
Due to Covid-19, you may find it difficult to kick-start your career in fitness centre management at the moment. As we explain here, however, recruiters will not view time out of work due to the pandemic as a 'gap' in your CV. For guidance on searching for work during this difficult time, take a look at our advice for job hunting during a pandemic.
Employers of fitness centre managers include health authorities, private fitness clubs, hotel and leisure groups, educational institutions and corporate fitness centres. Fitness centre managers undertake similar duties to managers of recreation and leisure centres, with responsibilities including:
- recruiting, training and supervising staff
- managing budgets
- enhancing profitability by organising and delivering an appropriate range of fitness activities and programmes
- keeping statistical and financial records
- maintaining fitness equipment
- ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation
- maintaining customer service standards
- undertaking administrative tasks
- promoting and marketing the business
- dealing with enquiries, complaints and emergencies.
The amount of contact with customers and staff varies according to the size of employer: managers in larger organisations may be mostly office based, whereas those employed by smaller establishments often have frequent contact with customers, suppliers and employees. The work can require regular long hours, evening, weekend and public holiday work.
Opportunities are advertised both online and in print and in specialist publications, including Leisure Management and Leisure Week. You could also take a look at the vacancy lists produced by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMPSA).
There are routes into this profession for both university graduates and school leavers.
Employers may prefer graduates with qualifications in sports science, recreation or leisure studies, health management, physiology, life sciences, business or management. A relevant postgraduate qualification (for example an MSc in sports science) can be useful, particularly for graduates without appropriate first degrees.
Related work experience is normally necessary. This can be gained via part-time or seasonal work as a coach, fitness instructor, recreation assistant or leisure/fitness centre attendant.
Candidates must be physically fit and should possess sound customer service, business, management, sales and marketing skills. Good problem solving, interpersonal, organisational and communication skills are also essential. First aid qualifications are beneficial for most positions.