(as at March 2011)
There are four main sources of information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for ‘volunteers’ in sport in NSW. These surveys all collect different information on volunteers depending on their predominant focus. As a consequence, there are many different numbers of volunteers in NSW cited in various documents which can cause confusion.
In 2010, there were 458,500 people in NSW involved in organised sport or physical activity in a non-playing or support role such as a coach, referee, committee member, scorer etc. This comprised 263,400 males and 195,200 females.
Many support people perform more than one role e.g. as both a committee member and a coach. In 2010, sport support people performed 653,600 support roles – an average of 1.4 roles per person.
Out of the 653,600 support roles performed in NSW in 2010, the most common role was that of a coach, instructor or teacher with 206,000 roles or a third (32%) of all support roles.
The next most common role was that of committee member or administrator with 158,600 roles or 24% of all support roles.
Scorers/timekeepers and referees/umpires were next with 128,000 (20%) and 98,300 (15%) roles respectively.
Medical and other support roles accounted for the remainder – 62,700 (10%) roles.
There has been a gradual decrease in the proportion of the population (aged 15 and over) who were involved in a non-playing role in sport from 1997 to 2010.
In all 5 surveys, there have been higher proportions of males than females in sport support roles. Since 1997, the proportion of males in support roles has decreased from 11.7% to 9.5% - a 19% decrease whereas the equivalent decrease for females in support roles was 16%, from 8.1% in 1997 down to 6.8% in 2010.
In 1997, one in every 10 adults (9.8%) was in a sport support role compared to only one in 12 (8.1%) in 2010 – a 17% decrease in 13 years.
Labour force status
Capital city versus rest of State
Country of birth
This chart above shows the proportion of support roles by the number of weeks in that role during the previous year.
Three-quarters of all support roles involve between 1 and 26 weeks whereas only a quarter involve between 27 and 52 weeks.
A greater proportion of coaches/instructors/teachers and committee members or administrators tended to work 27 weeks or more during the year.
This chart shows that the numbers of hours per week that most people spend on support roles is fairly evenly distributed between less than hours and 3 hours or more.
Only coaches/instructors/teachers tended to spend a higher proportion of time (pink - 3 hours or more) on their roles. Whereas, most scorers/timekeepers spent less than 3 hours (mauve) on their roles.
As can be seen by the graph below, the trendlines for committee members or administrators and referees or umpires show decreases whereas the other roles - coaches/instructors/teachers, scorers/timekeepers and medical support show slight upward trends
Although some of these changes at the NSW level are not considered statistically significant by the ABS, the NSW trends reflect similar ones to trends in other states/territories and to the national trend.
The previous data relates to all sport support people in NSW i.e. those in either a paid and/or volunteer capacity. However, most of these support people were volunteers.
Out of the 458,500 sport support people in NSW
The graph below is for sports volunteers only i.e. it excludes any paid support people in sport. The trends are similar to those of all sport support people (both paid and unpaid) in the previous graph
This survey was released on 22 May 2007 and more analysis released in November 2008.
Detailed analysis from the previous GSS (2002) can be found in the ABS report ‘Sport volunteers and Other Volunteers (PDF)
The following data from the GSS (2006) is taken from Volunteers in Sport and was collected in the ABS General Social Survey (GSS) 2006. The data is available from the ABS website in Excel spreadsheet format.
Results from the GSS show there was a total of 1,676,100 volunteers in NSW in 2006. This was a third of all people aged 18 years and over in NSW. More volunteers were female (53.7%) than male (46.3%). Most volunteers were aged between 35 and 54 years of age – 45.2% of all volunteers.
Out of the 1.7 million volunteers in NSW in 2006, there were 489,200 people aged 18 and over who volunteered in sport and physical recreation organisations (hereon known as sports volunteers). Sports volunteers accounted for 29.2% of all volunteers and 9.5% of the total population of NSW aged 18 years and over.
In contrast with volunteers from other types of organisations, sports volunteers were more likely to be male (62.1%) than female (37.9%). As can be seen in the graph, sports volunteers (green) were also more likely to be younger than those from other organisations (blue).
More than half of all sports volunteers (55.7%) were aged between 35 and 54 years – 30.6% between 35 and 44 years and 25.1% between 45 and 54 years. This was in contrast to other types of organisations which had only 40.9% of their volunteers aged between 35 and 54 years.
Sports volunteers were most likely to be born in Australia (86.8%) or in another English-speaking country (5.6%). Only 7.6% of sports volunteers were born in a non-English speaking country. This was much lower than the 21% from non-English speaking country who volunteered in other types of organisations and the 21% proportion of the NSW population.
Sports volunteers were more likely to be employed (82.4%) than volunteers for other organisations (60.9%). Out of the 82.4% employed in sports organisations, 62.3% were employed full-time and 20.1% part-time. Only 17.6% of sports volunteers were unemployed or not in the labour force compared to 39.1% of volunteers in other organisations.
Note: lowest quintile = volunteers from the most disadvantaged areas and highest quintile = volunteers from the least disadvantaged areas
A third (32.5%) of sports volunteers came from the highest quintile in the relative index of socio-economic disadvantage (i.e. the least disadvantaged) as did 29.2% of other volunteers. As can be seen in the graph, there is little difference in the index of socio-economic disadvantage between sports volunteers and those who volunteered for other organisations.
Half (49.8%) of all sports volunteers were one family households consisting of a couple and dependent children compared to only a third of volunteers from other organisations. Volunteers from other organisations were more likely (38%) to be from one family households consisting of a couple without dependent children.
The most common occupation group for sports volunteers was ‘professionals’ – one if five (21.4%) sports volunteers were from this group. The next highest group was unemployed/not in labour force at 18.4%.
Note: the sum of volunteering involvements exceeds the number of volunteers because individual volunteers may work for more than one organisation in each given organisation type
Sports volunteers volunteer more frequently than those in other organisations. Six out of 10 (60.6%) sports volunteers volunteered at least once a week compared to less than half (46.7%) in other organisations.
More than half (51.7%) of all sports volunteers volunteered 80 or more hours in 2006 compared to only 41.6% of volunteers in other organisations. The graph shows how sports volunteers tend to do more hours of volunteering than their counterparts in other organisations.
More than half of all volunteers had volunteered for more than 10 years. The graph shows there was little difference between the length of time volunteering between sports volunteers and other volunteers.
More than half (56.5%) of sports volunteers had volunteered more than 10 years. Other frequent responses to ‘how first became involved’ in sport volunteering were ‘someone asked’ (15.9%) and ‘knew someone involved’ (11.3%).
Most volunteers tended to have multiple roles with more than half of sports volunteers coaching/refereeing/judging (54.3%) and fundraising/sales (54.8%).
There were 41.8% of sports volunteers doing administration/information management/clerical and 35.4% involved in preparing/serving food. Another common activity for sports volunteers was management/committee work/coordination with 30.2% of sports volunteers performing that activity. Other activities with large proportions of sports volunteers were transporting people/goods (26.3%) and teaching/instruction/providing information (25.7%).
|Type of voluntary activity undertaken (%)|
|Activity||Sports organisation||other organisation||All organisations|
|Search and rescue/first Aid
|Protecting the environment||*4.1||8.1||7.0|
* = Treat with caution as standard error high
The main activity sports volunteers spent time on was coaching/refereeing/judging taking 33.5% of their time. In contrast, the main activity volunteers from other organisations spent time doing was fundraising/sales at 29.2%. The graph above shows sports volunteers only.
The majority of sports volunteers had all or most of their friends of the same ethnic background (72.0%). Two-thirds of sports volunteers had all or most of their friends of a similar age (66.2%) and just over half of sports volunteers (56.6%) had all or most of their friends from a similar educational background.
Friends of volunteers from other organisations had similar demographics to those of sports volunteers’.
The main reason more than half (56.2%) of sports volunteers gave for becoming a volunteer was ‘to help others/community’ - this was a similar proportion given by both genders.
Nearly half (49.2%) of all sports volunteers said ‘personal satisfaction’ was a reason for volunteering with more males than females citing this reason. The next most cited reason was ‘personal/family involvement’ given by 45.6% of all sports volunteers – more females than males cited this as a reason.
The table below contains all reasons given by gender.
|Reasons for becoming a volunteer (a)||Males||Females||Total|
|To be active||21.3%||23.8%||22.3%|
|To learn new skills||12.8%||5.3%||10.0%|
|To do something worthwhile||33.1%||28.4%||31.3%|
|Gain work experience||7.7%||1.6%||5.4%|
(a) persons may have given more than one reason
Sporting volunteers had double the likelihood of attending a sporting event (82.8%) than volunteers from other organisations (42.7%). However, sporting volunteers were just as likely to attend a culture or leisure venue or event (96.5%) as other volunteers (94.6%).
Sports volunteers were more likely to be involved in health promotion and support, trade unions/professional/technical associations and social clubs providing restaurants and bars than those volunteers from other organisations.
In contrast, other volunteers were more likely to be involved in craft or practical hobby group or religious or spiritual group.
Two-thirds of sports volunteers (66.3%) agreed (either strongly or somewhat) to the statement ‘you believe most people can be trusted’. This was a higher proportion than both volunteers from other organisations (56.5%) and non-volunteers (50.9%).
Sports volunteers were more likely to feel safer than other volunteers when walking alone in their local area after dark – 58.5% of sports volunteers reported feeling ‘very safe’ or ‘safe’ compared to only 47.8% of other volunteers feeling ‘very safe’ or ‘safe’. This compared with only 44.7% of non-volunteers.
Sports volunteers and volunteers from other organisations were just as likely to feel ‘very safe’ or ‘safe’ at home alone during the day (96%).
More than 3 out of ten (31.5%) sports volunteers rated their health as ‘excellent’. This result was higher than volunteers from other organisations where just over one in five (22.5%) assessed their health as ‘excellent’.
More than half (63.7%) of sports volunteers incurred some expense while volunteering – higher than the 56.6% of ‘other’ volunteers. Travel costs was the most frequently reported expense with 52.2% of sports volunteers incurring this cost. The next most frequently reported cost was phone calls incurred by 49.7% of volunteers.
Most expenses were not reimbursed - out of the total number of sports volunteers who incurred expenses, only one in five (21.8%) had any of their costs reimbursed. This was a similar proportion to volunteers from other organisations (20%).
This is an ABS survey of businesses/organisations predominantly engaged in sports and physical recreation services. The most recent survey was conducted in respect of the 2004-05 financial year and is the third ABS survey of sports and physical recreation services. Previous collections were conducted in 1994-95 and 2000-01.
The data from this survey is particularly useful when looking at employing and significant non-employing businesses/organisations which are coded to the sport and recreation according to ABS classifications. However, it is not a valid measure of the total number of volunteers in sport and recreation organisations. Another issue is due to confidentiality restrictions, total results are not available for NSW.
Australian results showed that at the end of June 2005, total employment in sports and physical recreation services was 111,519 persons. In addition, there were 181,832 volunteers during the month of June 2005.
Overall, 17% or one in six people in NSW aged 15 and over said they had performed voluntary work in the 12 months prior to the 2006 Census. Those aged between 35 and 44 years had the highest number of volunteers (188,677) with the 45 to 54 age group having the largest proportion of any age group at 20.5%.
Information contained in this document has been drawn from a range of published and unpublished data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.