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SBD Global/February 4, 2014/Finance

Retired Rugby Players Find Second Career After Playing Days Are Over

Retired Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas’s predicament "is common to many elite athletes," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. When they retire or approach retirement, "it can be a struggle to identify a second career that will give them the opportunity to excel again." In the U.K., however, "there are signs that this difficult transition for sporting heroes is becoming smoother." Some employers are targeting professional sportspeople "in the belief that the attributes that won success on the pitch or track exactly match the skills they seek in the jobs market." Citigroup is one. The financial services company used boutique recruitment agency Add-Victor, founded by ex-England rugby player Steve White-Cooper, to "identify sporting and military candidates." After looking at 40 individuals, "it has offered five sportspeople full-time positions after an internship." The attributes of the Citi interns that excited Global Head of Markets Paco Ybarra were “an excellent work ethic, the ability to perform as part of a team and being able to make good decisions under pressure.” The U.K. arm of insurance broker Aon "is also hiring ex-athletes." Athlete Career Transition (ACT) "is another boutique recruitment outfit acting as a bridge." Founded by ex-Wales rugby internationals and brothers Andy and Steve Moore, it "draws up psychometric profiles of sportspeople in the autumn of their playing careers and seeks to match them with companies." Former England rugby player Simon Halliday said that business success after sport "depends in great part on the individual." After retiring, he "worked in the City and held a senior role at Lehman Brothers at the time of its 2008 collapse; he wrote a recently published book, City Centre, about his dual careers." Halliday: “It’s a question of the sportspeople involved -- they have to want to buy into this” (FT, 2/3).
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