A1 Journal article (refereed)
To stay or to leave? Career story models of Finnish sports graduates (2023)

Jama, K.-M., Tynjälä, P., Aarto-Pesonen, L., Malinen, A., & Hämäläinen, R. (2023). To stay or to leave? Career story models of Finnish sports graduates. Sport Education and Society, 28(2), 200-212. https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2021.1997979

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Jama, Kaisa-Mari; Tynjälä, Päivi; Aarto-Pesonen, Leena; Malinen, Anita; Hämäläinen, Raija

Journal or series: Sport Education and Society

ISSN: 1357-3322

eISSN: 1470-1243

Publication year: 2023

Publication date: 29/10/2021

Volume: 28

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 200-212

Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2021.1997979

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78637


Previous research has revealed the challenges of sports graduates. Of particular concern is the question of how sports graduates navigate these difficulties in the job market. This study sought to understand the modern careers of sports graduates by describing different career story models among sports degree graduates. Life story data collection was employed to capture the various influences affecting career paths. The data consisted of 59 career life stories collected from Finnish sports degree graduates who were recruited through an open writing invitation. Data were analysed with the narrative method. Five typical career story models were identified among Finnish sports degree graduates: (1) From struggles to career change; (2) Momentum for a new career; (3) No pain, no gain; (4) Natural path to success; and (5) From aspirations to an uncertain future. Collectively, these story models suggest that graduates seem to balance between their personal enthusiasm for sport and fitness and the realities of working life. Many graduates contemplated leaving the industry, and remaining in the sports industry was defined by how much working life met the expectations shaped by education or personal dreams. These findings indicate that since many sport graduates struggle with the structural challenges of the sports industry, additional support through student counselling and in finding quality entry-level jobs might be beneficial in preventing career change and supporting careers in sports. Narrative career counselling is suggested to promote the wellbeing of individuals who struggle in their careers.

Keywords: athletes; sports; professional sports career; working life; access to employment; labour market; career; placement (work); transferable skills; career development; coping; education and training; graduates; challenges

Free keywords: career story; life story; sports graduate; sports work; narrative research

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2023

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-02-05 at 13:36