News Release

'Cinderella subject' of Sport & Exercise Science vital to keeping Wales healthy & wealthy

Peer-Reviewed Publication

The Physiological Society

Sport and Exercise Science has been described as the "Cinderella" subject of Wales and a key part of the Welsh economy, according to new labour market data being released at an event in the Assembly tomorrow (Tuesday).

In the first analysis of its kind, Sport and Exercise Science students in Wales have been shown to be employed in sectors as diverse as health care, legal services and research. The economic analysis shows that across the UK, SES education provides an impact of almost £4 billion to the economy every year.

There is a huge opportunity for SES graduates, with around 750,000 jobs in industry sectors in Wales employing SES students. Across the UK, for every £1 that a student invests in their education in SES they will earn £5.50 in higher future wages. Graduates can expect to earn nearly £670,000 more over the course of their working life as a result of their SES education, compared to their peers that do not graduate from university.

Jobs for SES graduates are also geographically spread throughout Wales. Although Cardiff, Swansea and Newport make up just under half of the 2,440 new job postings for roles requiring an SES skillset between July 2018 and June of the following year, both Wrexham and Rhyl had 49 or more unique job postings in roles such as family support worker and personal trainer.

This newly published analysis also highlights the broader benefits to society for sport and exercise science. As well as generating over £6 billion across the UK in income from higher student lifetime earnings and increased business investment, the scientific research done by sport and exercise scientists is helping people live longer, healthier lives. For example, research being undertaken by the University of South Wales into exercise regimes before an operation is helping reduce mortality following major surgery in cancer and vascular patients.

The analysis was commissioned by The Physiological Society and GuildHE and carried out by the labour market economic consultancy, Emsi. It will be launched at a reception in the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday, with Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM. The Minister will be joined by Public Health Wales, Sport Wales, the Older People's Commissioner for Wales and physiologists from Bangor University and the University of South Wales.

Ahead of the launch event, Professor Bridget Lumb, President of The Physiological Society, said:

"In many ways Sport and Exercise Science is the "Cinderella subject" of Wales. It plays a vital role in the health and wealth of Wales but too often doesn't get the recognition it deserves. We hope to raise the profile of sport and exercise science and show how the research done in this field is changing peoples' lives.

"With 2020 being designated 'Year of the Outdoors' by Visit Wales, this is an ideal time to be launching this new analysis. Sport and Exercise Science brings huge benefits to the Welsh economy, with graduates working in sectors as diverse as healthcare and legal services. For every £1 a student invests in their SES education, they will make £5.50 back in higher wages."

"Welsh universities are driving scientific innovation in Sport and Exercise Science, which is improving the quality of life of patients with life-threatening diseases such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. These conditions cost the NHS billions every year and this research will become ever more important as we face the challenges of an ageing population."


The factsheet, including all the SES economic data for Wales, and the UK-wide report into Sport and Exercise Science it relates to can be found here

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