Signs of Gym Employment Growth as Spring Arrives

Spring Growth in Gym Employment
75 jobs were posted on CBJ’s job board in the past eight weeks, and 41 in the past four weeks, indicating gym employment may be on the rise. (Background photo courtesy of First Ascent, currently looking for a Head Setter)

As climbing gyms continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic crisis, there have been positive signs for the industry as Spring arrives. The 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is at its lowest level since October, vaccines continue to be distributed, and in California gyms in all but 11 counties have exited the most restrictive tier and been allowed to reopen at limited capacity, the most since November.

Results in the CWA’s monthly survey also improved in the latest February survey. A higher percentage of climbing gym operators say they are not in danger of going out of business due to the pandemic (46% in February compared to 33% in January) and are not currently considering exiting their business (84% vs. 73%). Employment for gym staff also increased. In the same survey, the percentage of gym operators employing 0 to 9 percent of their normal full-time staff dropped from 19 to 13 percent since January (26% to 17% for part-time staff). And the percentage of gyms employing 40 percent or more of their normal full-time staff increased from 71 to 78 percent (61% to 69% for part-time staff).

Eldorado Climbing


Industry job opportunities on the CBJ job board also spiked during this time. In the past eight weeks, 75 jobs across 24 states and provinces were posted on the industry’s main employment hub. 13 of those jobs were based in Colorado, 8 in Utah, 7 in both New York and Illinois, and 6 in Washington. Brooklyn Boulders led the way with the most job openings (12), including three managerial roles at its upcoming Washington D.C. location. Other businesses with multiple jobs of late included The Front Climbing Club and Vertical Solutions in Salt Lake City, Head Rush Technologies and The Spot in Boulder-Denver, Edgeworks-Stone Gardens in Tacoma-Seattle, First Ascent in Chicago, and Vertical Endeavors.

Multiple skillsets were in demand during this period. There were 16 routesetting job listings in total, including several full-time Head or Assistant Head Routesetter positions like those at Portland Rock Gym in Oregon and The Hive in Vancouver. Gym manager jobs were also frequently listed, such as the General Manager position at The Gravity Vault’s first gym in California. And still other jobs spanned front desk roles like the Front Desk Manager opening at Elevation Rock Gym in Utah, coaching, instructing and programing jobs like the Programs Coordinator position at High Point Huntsville in Alabama, as well as marketing, communications and sales help like the Rock Climbing Sales Rep wanted at Rockwerx.

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