White woman aged 30-40 stretching in a gym class

Research Report: Sport for Success – how sport helps women achieve professionally


The health benefits of leading an active lifestyle are widely known and researched but – until now – there has been little research into the socio-economic benefits of taking part in sport and physical activity.

This research reaffirms how playing sport can help to develop skills and qualities valuable for women’s personal progression. Sport for Success also highlights how the workplace can benefit from the increased effectiveness of female staff who play sport.


If you can give women the boost you get from having done sport, having been really successful at that, I think that can be really, really helpful.

Report contents

  • Exploring being active and personal progression.
  • Playing sport and skill development.
  • Team working.
  • Strengthening personal motivation.
  • Managing stress and pressure.
  • Harnessing the benefits of women playing sport at work.

Key findings

  • Women who play sport have higher levels of educational qualifications and confidence.
  • Women aged 16-24 who engage in sport at least once a week are significantly more likely to be in a management role than those who do not play any sport.
  • Women who play regular sport are more motivated to achieve long term goals.
  • Potential employers find being active an attractive trait in potential employees.
  • Playing sport can help develop certain skills that can lead to successful careers:
      • Growing confidence
      • Self-belief
      • Taking on challenges
      • Integrity
      • Assertiveness
      • Effective communication
      • Commitment to goals


  • Make fun and social aspects the focus.
  • Engage women by offering non-traditional activities.
  • Reassure women on the suitability of activities.
  • Use positive images and language.
  • Support camaraderie and connections through social media groups.
  • 48 %

    of women who play sport 3+ times a week have a degree

    Women in Sport

  • 1 in 4

    female senior decision makers say sport built their confidence

    Women in Sport

Download the report