With the industry’s current recruitment challenges, it’s never been more valuable to understand the benefits of having an ‘always on’ recruitment mindset. Tino Lena from the Trainer Recruitment Network, explains.
Recruiting and retaining quality personal training and group exercise staff is crucial for the success of fitness businesses. Recent research by MINDBODY has shed light on the impact fitness instructors have on client retention, highlighting the importance of effective recruitment strategies. However, the current economic environment and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic have presented significant challenges for the fitness industry’s recruitment efforts. In this article, we will explore the importance of maintaining an “always on” mindset for recruitment and provide strategies for building a successful and sustainable recruitment funnel in the fitness industry.
MINDBODY’s research reveals that personal trainers (PTs) are considered the most critical factor in ensuring individuals stick to their exercise routines, with one in five people emphasising their significance. Personal training studios, on average, have an impressive 80 per cent retention rate. Moreover, a study conducted by Stanford University demonstrated that receiving just one motivational training session per week resulted in a remarkable 78 per cent increase in gym members’ activity levels.
Recruitment across all roles in the fitness industry has become increasingly challenging due to various factors. The combination of a low 3.5 per cent employment rate, an 18-month backlog on international visas, and the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm for the fitness industry’s recruitment challenges. The cancellation of face-to-face classes during the lockdowns hindered the traditional recruitment pathway of fitness Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). Consequently, a 2-year cohort of approximately 20,000 students was unable to graduate with Certificates III and IV in Fitness, resulting in a potential loss of up to 12,000 graduates over the 24-month period.
The lockdowns also led to a significant attrition rate of 30 per cent among existing personal trainers who were unable to access gyms and had to seek alternative sources of income. Unfortunately, this attrition could not be replenished by new course graduates due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Fitness RTOs have also experienced a decline in new enrolments, with a reduction of approximately 30 per cent post-COVID. To mitigate future risks, many RTOs have shifted to online-only courses, which have encountered higher withdrawal rates and difficulties in completing assignments.
Given the substantial impact of personal training and group fitness on member retention and engagement, fitness businesses must adopt an ‘always on’ recruitment strategy. Gone are the days when gyms could rely on placing ads on job platforms to attract suitable candidates. With near full employment, limited immigration opportunities, and a reduced talent pool, the fitness industry must be proactive in its recruitment efforts for at least the next 24 months.
Adopting an ‘always on’ mindset for recruitment is essential, particularly in this current economic environment. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the scarcity of qualified candidates, building a sustainable and consistent recruitment funnel for all roles within your business is vital for ongoing staff and member retention. By implementing strategies such as recruiting from within, utilising multiple job platforms, collaborating with RTOs, and hosting career events, fitness businesses can overcome recruitment obstacles and ensure a continuous supply of quality talent. With a well-developed recruitment process in place, fitness businesses can thrive and contribute to the long-term success of the industry.