Attracting Digital Talent in the Sporting Goods Industry

Posted on: Posted on
Attracting Digital Talent

Attracting Digital Talent in the Sporting Goods Industry

You can attract flies with honey, but how do you to attract digital talent? To remain relevant and at the forefront of consumers’ choices, companies in the sporting goods industry must embrace digital challenges. This will require a new wave of talent that can often only be found in other industries, and requires well-deserved changes to attract, on-board and retain first-league digital players.

Attracting Digital Talent.

Digital talent is a hot commodity, and for a good reason. According to a recent research report produced by LinkedIn, over half of the companies surveyed acknowledged that they had lost competitive advantage due to a digital talent shortage. As such, the Sporting Goods Industry must compete with industries that are more advanced when it comes to digital.

To effectively attract this prized talent, first and foremost, Sporting Goods companies need to invest in a digitally-friendly culture. Digital talents can easily identify companies that haven’t fully converted to digital-first thinking and will tend to disregard companies that have failed to make the switch.

Building a digital-friendly culture starts by ensuring that the company’s digital vision and aspirations are clearly outlined. After all, recruiting is somewhat like dating, you need to signal that you are available and make yourself attractive by clarifying your expectations. Upcoming projects and targets should be set out in a straightforward manner within any prospective job description and future opportunities should be advertised to demonstrate the long-term benefits of the role.

An additional aspect of a digital-friendly culture relates to the resources available to digital staff. Generally speaking, digital talents around the world are still finding it difficult at times to convince their more analogue-based managers of the value of investment in digital teams and projects. We know from our experience that companies that have a history of investing in digital are more appealing to digital talents.

Finally, and as expected, a competitive salary with benefits is necessary to attract digital talents. After all, you can’t attract flies with vinegar. Companies that pay the right price and offer appealing benefits, are, from our experience, successful at signalling their commitment to digitalisation and successful at attracting digital experts.

Scouting the best.

In terms of digital expertise, the Sporting Goods industry lags behind some other similar industries. To address this discrepancy and benefit from cutting-edge know-how, Sporting Goods companies need to look beyond their usual talent pools and consider employees coming from other consumer-focused industries.

Customer-centric companies are ideal targets when it comes to recruiting digital experts from outside the Sporting Goods industry. The focus should be placed on finding the right competencies and skills, as well as the motivation and a genuine interest to work in the Sporting Goods industry. Hiring managers must be willing to think outside the box, and not just court talent from the same pool of talent they have been fishing in before.

Finding the digital unicorn.

A mistake many Sporting Goods companies make in setting out to hire a digital expert is focusing on hiring what we call a ‘digital unicorn’: someone who is a top digital strategist, but also a creative online marketer, a social media guru, a technical e-commerce expert and much more besides.

We call them digital unicorns because they are just that. Unicorns. They don’t exist.

Undoubtedly, there are supremely talented people out there who are so far ahead of anyone else that they can, single-handedly, have a profound affect upon your business. We know them. But we also know that they won’t be attracted by a role that has myriad demands, because they do not want to take on a mission that is probably doomed to fail.

It is imperative for organisations to recognise that each professional has their strengths in various areas, and that it’s far better to give digital talents a role that has the appropriate size and scope if they are to thrive and transform your business.

The recruitment of digital talent is fundamental to the success of any business in the current marketplace.

At SRi, we have a team of skilled recruiters connected to a broad network of qualified digital professionals, to help meet your digital recruitment needs.


Jenifer Tur is a Consultant at SRi Executive, based in Lausanne.

To find out more about SRi’s digital recruitment capability, please visit, or to have a confidential discussion, contact Jenifer Tur here.