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THU 12 MAY 2022 | GLOBAL GROWTH
LaLiga grows the number of professionals specialising in internationalisation and technology by 365% in a decade
LaLiga grows the number of professionals specialising in internationalisation and technology by 365% in a decade
  • The attraction of talent by the HR departments of football institutions and clubs is key to driving the transformation of the industry.
  • LaLiga is reaping the rewards of projects such as the LaLiga Global Network and the LaLiga Business School as strategic pillars for its growth and development.

'The role of HR in professional football' was the name of the event organised by LaLiga's HR department and which brought together some of the main actors in the sector. The event aimed to create a medium for the exchange of knowledge between HR professionals to tackle the future challenges of the sector, and it also revealed some very significant figures on the global growth of LaLiga.

The event, which was held at LaLiga's headquarters, revealed figures associated with pillars that have been key to aiding the professional transformation of the organisation: from a sector association with no more than 70 employees in 2013 to a large entertainment multinational with over 650 staff in the present day. Furthermore, LaLiga has seen significant growth of 191% in the number of technological profiles, drafted into its technology affiliate, LaLiga Tech, since 2021, and an increase in profiles in the International department from 0 in 2013 to 61 today, the majority selected through its innovative LaLiga Global Network programme, a key part of its internationalisation process.

Taken together this amounts to overall growth of 365% in the number of professionals in the two areas, which has propelled the international growth and digitalisation of LaLiga. These figures highlight the value of HR within a strategy for the modernisation of the industry, given that the incorporation of many of these cutting-edge profiles has been fundamental in spearheading this transformation.

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According to the speakers at the event – professionals from the clubs, the sports industry and HR – one of the key lessons that can be extrapolated from the world of football is the crucial nature of building the brand to attract talent. The clubs and organisations in the sports industry manage to recruit highly specialised profiles thanks to the pull of the brand through what is known as employer branding. The current challenge, stressed the experts, is to retain that talent.

Furthermore, training the best professionals within the company is an extremely powerful strategy at a time when specialisation is essential, something that LaLiga is working on through the LaLiga Business School, which offers scholarships to employees of the organisation to study postgraduate courses from the sector.

"We're currently witnessing the transformation of the Human Resources sector, and we believe that the sports industry and, specifically, the football industry can contribute knowledge of great relevance for other sectors. We're talking about an industry that has a significant ability to attract talent for different profiles and whose main stakeholders, the clubs, are obliged to continually adapt to new circumstances or changes in context," remarks Nieves Peño, LaLiga's HR director.

"The current evolution is particularly apparent in LaLiga, which has been leading this transformation in Spain in recent years: the programmes we have implemented to incorporate cutting-edge profiles for its digitalisation and internationalisation are a good example of the challenges of the future," she adds.

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An international talent network in 41 countries

In addition to the 13 offices which LaLiga has around the world, the organisation has managed to establish a presence in 41 countries thanks largely to the launch of the LaLiga Global Network of delegates in 2016, a selection of young talented profiles with international standing established in different countries to enhance the international value of the brand, generate opportunities for all of the clubs, increase their followers and be in close contact with their strategic partners and fans. In the 2021/22 season, there are 44 delegates around the world with a physical presence in 41 countries covering 90 international markets.

In 2019, LaLiga received the Best Internationalisation Strategy award at the WFS Industry Awards 2019 for this talent selection programme, followed in 2020 by accreditation as an Honorary Ambassador for Brand Spain, courtesy of King Felipe VI.

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Another major challenge for football is technology: the search for technological profiles is a challenge which cuts across companies from all sectors, and in the case of LaLiga the growth has been breath-taking: the Business Intelligence & Analytics department started out with two people in 2017 and has grown over the years to become a department that currently employs over 70 staff. Furthermore, 2021 saw the birth of LaLiga Tech, LaLiga's technology affiliate, which currently incorporates some 146 technological profiles qualified in disciplines such as telecoms engineering, app development, business intelligence and big data.

In addition to this, in the 2017/18 season LaLiga launched another project focused on human capital in football: LaLiga Business School, LaLiga's educational facility, currently offering professional courses, international master's degrees and postgraduate courses. Evidence of the effectiveness of this approach to professionalisation is that 18 of its former students work in different areas of LaLiga (Legal, Marketing, Commercial, Financial Control) and 42 work for its clubs.

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