Groundsmen and women are overwhelmingly happy with their jobs but work up to 72 hours a week at times and mostly for no extra pay, a recent Institute of Groundsmanship (IoG) member survey revealed.
In it 95 per cent of members reported being "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their jobs.
But the survey showed that the culture of long hours was rife. On average people were contracted to work 40 hours per week but respondents actually worked an average of 72 hours in the busiest week of the year.
The majority reported working unsociable hours and 51 per cent worked longer hours than they wanted to. Only 41 per cent agreed they had enough time, within normal paid working hours, to get their job done with the result that the job could often be too stressful.
For this groundsmen and women earned on average £32,254 full-time with those working in cricket earning the most – £43,250 on average.
Many members who did the survey had good job security. On average respondents employed in current position for 12 years but those working in the lower leagues had a much higher turnover and reported feeling more insecure in their roles.
The survey respondents were typically well-qualified. The majority, 53 per cent, had an industry relevant qualification at NVQ level 3 or above. Around a third, 32 per cent, had received training in the previous 12 months mainly in management and health and safety.
The research also revealed that almost all respondents were white males – with just four per cent saying that they were white women and 100 per cent saying they were white. The majority, 62 per cent, of respondents are 35 -54.
Chief executive Geoff Webb drew attention to the member demographic when he revealed the report at the IoG Conference, held at stadiummk earlier this month.
Speaking later to Horticulture Week he said: "I’m not overly surprised by what I found, I think we all have to watch the age profile. In professional sport there is only one per cent who are under 25. That’s why we’ve set up the Young IoG board which holds its second conference next year, after a successful first conference at Saltex."
The IoG also has an equality policy – something "at the forefront of sports minds" said Webb. "Black and minority ethnic people are woefully underrepresented as are women. There’s no reason in this day and age why we can’t be a much more open industry", he said.
Webb added that the staff make-up of the IoG was much more mixed and more reflective of society. He said the sector needed advocates from within its ranks to go out and encourage others to join.
The IoG has also launched a charity, Grounds 4 Sport which will conduct research but also work with schools to promote groundsmanship. It also runs its own apprenticeship scheme, with 24 participants currently.