Female Student-Athletes Are Winning the Job Search

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The United States in the past few decades has been viewed as the epicenter for human rights. Due to the nation’s history as a world power, people from many ethnic backgrounds have flocked to the land in hope of a better life. The mindset of acceptance for diversity combined with an ever-growing sense of globalism has challenged the conventional understanding of how companies recruit employees.

In 2017, large companies often look for potential employees by seeing if they meet certain requirements. The next, and often most difficult step in the process, is for a hiring manager to figure out which candidates stand out from the pack. An employee who will bring constant value to their organization.

So, what makes the perfect hire? What experiences mold a person that allow a company to receive the best possible return on their investment? Studies have shown that being a female athlete may increase your chances.

The Gallop-Purdue Research Index did a study in 2016 that analyzed the lives of over 24,000 people. The study showed that 42% of former student-athletes labeled as full-time employees were engaged while they were at work. This was compared to the 39% of non-athletes that were labeled as engaged during their time at work. When the survey looked at specifically athletes, the numbers helped to reveal a startling fact. 48% of former female athletes were labeled as engaged at their work, compared to a 38% score for former male athletes.

Ernst & Young, one of the top accounting firms in the world, released a study in 2014 that looked at 400 women in management positions across five countries. More than half (52%) of those women were former college level athletes. What can be drawn from these two studies? It is evident that former female athletes are more productive in the work place and have a proven record of success. What allows those females to become so successful once they enter the work place? Below are a few stories of successful females that attribute their success due to their history as a female athlete.

For former U.S. National Soccer player and Olympic Gold Medalist, Angela Hucles, conflict resolution is one thing that has helped her develop into a strong business leader. She believes that her skills in the business are due to the time she spent on the U.S. National Team. Hucles says, “when you have 20 different women with personalities, conflict is going to happen”. Managing those bold personalities under pressure on the soccer pitch resulted in an Olympic Gold Medal for Angela Hucles. Her background in conflict resolution is something that has helped her reach success in her positions after athletics, elevating her to the title as President of the Women’s Sports Foundation.

The founder of apparel and marketing company Lot801, Lindsay White, views communication as her particular skill that contributes the most to her career. White believes that the clear, concise and effective communication learned playing softball at Dixie State College is what differentiates her among other entrepreneurs. The ability to communicate her expectations, deadlines, and other tasks allow her to be most effective when dealing with employees and her clients.

Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair of Public Policy for Ernst & Young, believes that competition is a huge advantage for the female athlete. Any athlete understands the pressure of a match or game. The mental toughness needed to power through a rough stretch in their play is what ultimately helps them become successful on the scoreboard at the end of the game. Female-athletes in their career have had to compete against each other, while mostly partaking in male-dominated sports. To Beth Brooke-Marciniak, female athletes have developed a ‘chip over their shoulder’ that elevates them to success. Brooke Marciniak believes that willingness to prove people wrong transfers directly to their lives in a competitive work environment.

Achieving a goal is often filled with more failures than successes. In athletics, the daily grind and constant failures are the intangible factors that make all student-athletes coachable. The ability to “fail well”, and bounce back from a loss show an athlete how to succeed. Athletes have a drive for persistent self-reflection and a willingness to analyze one’s performance.  Even after a loss, reflection of one’s performance leads to knowledge for how to handle scenarios in the future. Beth Brooke-Marciniak has seen over her career that the best employees are the student-athletes that have perfected this ability.

Qiana Martin knows what it feels like to be the only woman in the room. From playing at Rice University to playing professional soccer across the world, Qiana Martin has perfected being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Finding comfort in situations that lead to discomfort came to a climax in Martin’s life when she found herself as the sole female panelist at the C4CT Concussion Awareness Conference at the United Nations. Being at ease while being the only woman in the room has helped Martin achieve success in her professional life. Martin believes her history as the minority in most situations of her life attribute to this unique skill. This has helped her to develop a mindset that allows her to not only find comfort in situations that aren’t ideal, but to thrive in those situations as well.

Diversity has gone from something that excludes people from the majority to something that encourages being different. Google, Amazon and other industry leaders across the globe have created cultures within their companies that reward being different. They believe that finding success outside of conventional means is to be commended, not dismissed. Female athletes have faced many obstacles through their playing careers that most of their peers when entering the workplace have not. The intangible skills that female athletes have learned during their playing days has shown proven success for the entities that hire female athletes. Are female athletes going to continue to be the new trend in corporate hiring?

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