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The surprising state of scout’s salary

27.02.2022 @SaulCuttell

The surprising state of scout’s salary

Well this is truly a controversial topic it would seem. I recently posted out a poll in which I asked the question ‘’what is the normal rate of pay for a Full-time scout at a professional football club?’’ which was met with a tremendous response. Almost as if there was a scouting pay gap issue! There were 4 answers to this question, 1. Voluntary, no pay. 2. £20,000 or less Per Annum, 3. £20,000-£30,000 Per Annum and 4. £30,000 + Per Annum. This topic was extremely fascinating to me, especially after speaking to so many scouts in the industry at many different levels. The reason I think this topic resonates with so many is because they can see some parallels with the other backroom staff involved at football clubs (i.e. Coaches, Sports Scientists, Physios, Strength and Conditioning Coaches and more) but I will try and stick to the topic at hand. There was a total of 652 responses for all the questions on the poll and the answers were fascinating when subdivided. This was mainly because not all participants on the poll were scouts or even involved in football, for example students, teachers, lecturers voted on the poll and I have factored this in later in this blog. But overall the results were as follows:

1. Voluntary / no pay – 22% (143.5 votes)

2. £20,000 or less PA – 26% (170.5 votes)

3. £20,000-£30,000 PA – 31% (202.5 votes)

4. £30,000 + PA – 20% (130.5 votes)

This voting on the surface seems to uncover that the majority thought that the normal rate of pay for a full-time scout should be between £20,000-30,000 PA. However, we know that not all voters are directly involved in the scouting/talent ID industry. Or at least not obviously by their bios on LinkedIn. This realistically meant I needed to break the data down and see who EXACTLY was voting and how they voted to get a better state of play of this talent ID industry / sector.  

The data breakdown by football industry

So, I thought first I should break the data down only to scouts, analysts, heads of recruitment that were involved in football in some way. I did this by assessing the voters title and initial information on their LinkedIn Bio. I anticipated the voting pool would reduce in size since I was now excluding some votes. So, the data was broken down as follows:

1.       Voluntary / no pay – 22% (59 votes)

2.       £20,000 or less PA – 32% (89 votes)

3.       £20,000-£30,000 PA – 29% (77 votes)

4.       £30,000 + PA – 17% (43 votes)

The data did not change much, which in itself is interesting. For example, the voluntary category stayed the same at 22%, but there was an increase of 6% in the £20,000 or less Per Annum category and a small decrease of 3% in the £20,000 - £30,000 Per Annum category. There was only a 3% reduction in the final category £30,000 + Per Annum. While there wasn’t much change, I still wanted to see how scouts ONLY had voted. Therefore, I thought I would break this data down further.

Scout data breakdown

So, I thought I would start with analysing the data based on the respondents that were involved in scouting in some capacity or had the title scout in their bio on LinkedIn, had experience of scouting or had scouting qualifications. This meant also that I removed voters who were teachers, students and all other sorts of professions that on the surface do not seem football related. Equally I had to remove a few voters that were in different industries (i.e. trades people, salesmen and women etc.) and I needed to remove other voters like agents and coaches too. I thought as a bare minimum this would give me a better idea of what scouts are experiencing in the industry and what they truly think to the pay. So here is how they voted:

1. Voluntary / no pay – 24.5% (25 votes)

2. £20,000 or less PA – 30.5% (31 votes)

3. £20,000-£30,000 PA – 29.5% (29 votes)

4. £30,000 + PA – 15.5% (15 votes)

The results, again didn’t change much, but the data showed a downward shift slightly, meaning that scouts in roles of different clubs suggested that voluntary / no pay was 2.5% than the larger voting pool. The scout votes also marginally increased in the lower bracket of pay where they voted £20,000 or less Per Annum at 30.5%. This is staggering as over 55% of scouts voted that the pay is essentially lower than £20,000 per year for a Full-time scout at a professional football club or that there is NO pay. This could be spun into a frenzy that scouts are not paid well enough, but we need to give a balanced argument and we need to factor in things like are these scouts at a professional club, what qualifications they have completed and what experience do they already have and so much more. These are all very important factors in helping to understand the sector. Especially as 29.5% voted between £20,000-£30,000 Per Annum and 15.5% voted £30,000 + Per Annum. This means that 45% of scouts voted for the higher brackets of pay. It seems that the voting was divisive in that voluntary and £20,000 or less accounted for 55 votes (55%) and £20,000 up to £30,000 and over accounted for 45 votes (45%). 

Call to action

Now on the surface this data is not that dissimilar, but we need to better understand some of the previously mentioned factors (i.e. age, experience, years involvement, education level, club etc.). What would be interesting is to poll scouts again but factor in education level (i.e. FA, PFSA level 1, 2, 3 etc.) or years being a scout (i.e. 1 year compared to 5 years as being a paid scout) plus a few other factors. I also think it would be fascinating to learn more the level of the club (i.e. Premier league clubs pay relative to Championship / League 1 and 2 and so on) and the rate of pay for a scout. Equally it could be fascinating to know how a scout starts out in the industry! Therefore, if you are a scout / head of recruitment or involved in the talent ID football industry could YOU please fill out this new poll that you can access here and help address the state of the industry / sector with regards to pay for scouts?

Future directions: Pitch

At Pitch we are working hard to develop some future directions to help scouts, by gaining valuable experience with scout reports, educational packages around talent identification and psychology of success, the role of sport science in talent identification and development. We also will look to pay scouts on Pitch soon by creating some unique services that may help in this sector and maybe even help the state of talent identification in the UK.  After all hard work always beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard! So, if you are a scout, make your FREE scout profile today at Pitch.