KPMG in collaboration with the 30% Club, a movement of Chairs and CEOs who are committed to better gender balance at all levels of organisations in Ireland, have released unique research documenting Irish businesswomen's attitudes toward the role that sport has played in their professional development.

The research, commissioned by KPMG and conducted by iReach, emphasises the importance of sport in the daily lives of Irish businesswomen with 88% of those surveyed believing that the skills they have learned through sport are transferable to the workplace.

The first-of-its-kind research in Ireland was conducted entirely with key female decision makers in businesses nationwide, with 75% of respondents citing that they have participated in sport at some level.

58% believe participating in sport has positively impacted their career
69% believe their skills in the workplace improved due to participation in sport
94% would encourage female relatives to participate in sport

Report findings

The research uncovered interesting insights. Teamwork (90%), confidence (86%), and self-belief (63%) were all cited by those surveyed as some of the top skills they had developed through their participation in sport that are transferable to a career. Seven in ten (69%) of those surveyed meanwhile believe that they perform these skills better in the workplace due to their participation in sport.

Speaking about the release of the research, Rio Howley, partner in KPMG said: “KPMG is delighted to be involved in carrying out this research. We have seen first-hand the impact that sport has on the lives of women in this country through our sponsorship of the KPMG Women's Irish Open in 2022 and previous Women in Sport initiatives like the 20x20 campaign. We’re thrilled to see how sport has influenced the careers of so many women in business, and we hope that those who see these results will be encouraged to participate in sport - regardless of standard or level - so that they, too, can advance their careers and reach their full potential.”

Additional findings include:

  • 58% believe that participating in sport has positively impacted their professional career.
  • 94% of women in business would encourage a female relative to participate in sport, with
    • 87% stating it builds confidence,
    • 86% stating it is a great way to meet new people,
    • 69% believing it builds communication skills, and
    • 64% believing it builds leadership skills.
  • 45% of those surveyed stated that they look to see if participation in sport is included on a CV when hiring a new staff member.
  • 3 in 4 women surveyed say sport is useful for networking or business development, while
  • 56% of women believe sport is important when trying to achieve a good work-life balance

Melíosa O Caoimh also added the following  about the report: “We welcome this new and interesting research which supports the importance of broader competency development for senior leadership, and which reinforces once again the value of inclusion and equal participation for boys and girls - in education, in sport and ultimately into leadership roles.”

The research was discussed at an in-person event hosted by Deputy CEO, Wilson Hartnell and Head of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, Sarah O' Connor with panellists including Vera Pauw, Manager of the Irish Women’s National Football Team, Mary O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Sinead Aherne of KPMG and All-Ireland winning captain of the Dublin Ladies Football team and club side St Sylvesters.

The publication of this research is an extension of KPMG's ongoing commitment to the development, advancement, and empowerment of women's sport in Ireland. Having previously supported the 20x20 campaign, KPMG has strived to create a #LevelGround between women’s and men’s sport through its continued support of the Dublin Ladies Gaelic Football Team, KPMG Women’s Irish Open, Leona Maguire and Rachael Blackmore.

Going for Growth

In addition to its support of women’s sport in Ireland, KPMG also works to inspire greatness amongst young Irish talent through its vision for learning and empowering people to reach their full potential and be extraordinary.

As part of this vision KPMG, along with Enterprise Ireland support the award-winning Going for Growth programme which helps ambitious female entrepreneurs in achieving their growth aspirations.

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