Feature Article - June 2007
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General Survey Results

Recreation at work

From the popcorn vendor in the concession stand to the lifeguard at poolside to the director of operations, recreation, sports and fitness facilities employ a wide range of workers, and we asked some specific questions about the types of employees that make up their workforce.

On average, respondents employ 240.5 workers, including full-timers, part-timers, seasonal employees and volunteers. This number is expected to increase by 10.1 percent by 2008, to 264.7 employees. This increase will be driven largely by a jump in volunteer numbers, particularly among park and recreation departments.

The number of full-time, part-time and seasonal employees will change very little in the next couple of years. The average number of full-time employees is expected to increase by just 4.1 percent, from 72.3 currently to 75.3 in 2008. The number of part-time employees will see a smaller increase of 2.9 percent, from 58 on average currently to 59.7 in 2008. The number of seasonal employees will remain virtually unchanged, with an increase of just 0.2 percent from the current number of 51.1 to the projected number of 51.2 for 2008.

On the other hand, the number of volunteers is expected to climb substantially, with an increase of 36.7 percent between the current number of 53.7 volunteers to the projected 73.4 volunteers in 2008. (See Figure 16.)

Resorts and resort hotel facilities employ the greatest number of people, with an average of 395.4 currently. This number is expected to increase by 12.1 percent to 443.3 in 2008. Health clubs and sports clubs employ the smallest number of workers, with just 109.3 on average currently, expected to jump by nearly 7 percent to 116.8 in 2008.

The greatest increases in number of employees are expected among waterparks, amusement parks and theme parks, closely followed by parks and recreation departments. Waterparks and amusement parks project a 21.1 percent increase in total number of employees from 185.1 on average currently to 224.1 on average in 2008. Parks and recreation departments reported a 20.5 percent increase in the number of employees expected by 2008, from 269.5 currently to 324.7 in 2008.

Military installations are anticipating the sharpest decline in numbers of employees between now and 2008. On average, these facilities currently employ 158.9 staff, but that number is expected to decrease by 34.2 percent to 104.5 in 2008. Camping-related facilities are also expecting a decrease in numbers of employees, largely driven by a decrease at youth camps and private camps. This portion of the camping facility grouping is anticipating a 12.9 percent decrease in employees from 256.9 to 223.7 on average by 2008. (See Figure 17.)

Schools and school districts employed the largest number of full-time staff members, with 305.3 full-time employees, on average. YMCAs employed the most part-time workers, with 158.9 part-time employees on average. The major employers of seasonal workers included waterparks, amusement parks and theme parks, with 132 seasonal workers on average. Also more likely to employ seasonal workers were youth camps and private camps (with an average of 99.6 seasonal employees) and parks and recreation departments (with 88.2 seasonal employees on average). Volunteer workers were most likely to be found at YMCAs, youth and private camps, and parks and recreation departments, with 139.4 volunteer workers, 138 volunteers, and 92.5 volunteers on average, respectively.