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Businessman holding football to show athletes make better employees

Former athletes make better employees

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Recruiting candidates who were actively involved in playing sports in their high school or university days might give you an added advantage in the on-going talent war.

According to a study from Cornell University, athletes who played youth and high school sports make better employees and have better career opportunities than those who didn’t.

The paper, titled Sports at Work: Anticipated and Persistent Correlations of Participation in High School Athletics, stated employees who were ex-athletes possessed more leadership skills, self-confidence and self respect.

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

READ MORE: The business of sports

Collaborating with his colleagues Brian Wansink PhD, and Mitsuru Shimizu PhD, Kniffin conducted two studies designed to explore the links between high school athletics and pro-social, community oriented behaviours.

The first study surveyed 66 employed adults to ask how much they agreed with statements about the character of those who played sports in high school as well as those who did other activities like the marching band. The findings showed that those surveyed believed that former high school athletes are expected to be more self-confident, self-respecting leaders.

The second study looked at a survey of 931 men who graduated from high school about 60 years prior to taking the survey.

These men answered questions about their professional successes and contributions to their communities. The researchers found that those who had played high school sports were more likely to volunteer their time and donate to organisations such as Girl Scouts and the Red Cross.

“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,” Kniffin said.

READ MORE: Practice makes perfect? Not necessarily 

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