Looking for a job that gives you a deep sense of pride and is both meaningful and rewarding? Then look no further than lifeguarding. A staggering 94% of the lifeguards we spoke to in our latest Lifeguard Survey believe being a lifeguard is a role to be proud of.

We surveyed 2,317 lifeguards from across the UK and Ireland* to get greater insight into the nation’s lifeguard community and understand their motivations and aspirations. Here are their top five reasons for being an RLSS UK qualified lifeguard:

1. You can find work easily and earn a good income

There’s a reason RLSS UK’s National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) is still the most popular and sought-after lifeguard qualification in the UK and Ireland – currently, more than 95% of all UK pool lifeguards hold an NPLQ -and that’s because it offers a direct route to employment. In fact, 89% of the people we surveyed who completed the NPLQ have gone on to work as a paid lifeguard after completing their qualification.

RLSS UK’s sister qualifications - Open Water Lifeguard (OWL) and National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ) - are also helping people to secure jobs, with 86% of open water lifeguards and almost three-quarters of beach lifeguards securing work after training with RLSS UK.

For 16-18-year-olds in particular, qualifying with the leading lifesaving and lifeguarding charity offers the potential to earn good money and typically more than they can expect in other jobs.

“It opens up many job opportunities that pay really well for my age group.”

“The pay is good, far more than the minimum wage for my age.”

2. Being a lifeguard gives you great job

The pandemic has changed how people feel about work, and finding a job that gives you purpose has never been more important.

There aren’t many jobs that allow you to perform rescues and save lives - which ranks pretty high in terms of job satisfaction. But being a lifeguard is so much more than that. It’s a varied and rewarding role where no two days are the same. You engage with people from all walks of life and are responsible for identifying potential dangers and dealing with them, ensuring people can enjoy the water.

“It is a fun, rewarding job that teaches you life skills. It’s good to know you are allowing people to swim safely with someone looking out for them.”

Repeatedly, lifeguards told us how fulfilling they find the role.

“Knowing that you are responsible for the safety of people is very rewarding.”

3. Lifeguarding boosts your confidence

Lacking confidence can hamper your prospects leading to self-doubt and making it tougher to overcome challenges. Whatever your age or life experience, learning new skills is a proven way of building confidence and is a clear outcome of completing an RLSS UK lifeguarding qualification.

“Lifeguarding isn't just about lifesaving skills; it’s about team engagement, social work and mental drive, which brings out precious confidence within yourself.”

9 in 10 NPLQ holders believe that completing the qualification has boosted their confidence, while 93% of 16-18-year-olds said the NPLQ had made them more confident.

“I feel much more confident, and my communication skills have improved massively.”

4. You can work the hours that suit you

Flexible working is one of today’s most sought-after job benefits as people look for a better work/life balance. Lifeguarding allows you to work to suit your schedule, so you can do the hours you want when you want.

“It’s a fantastic job for any age. The hours are very flexible, and it gives you a good sense of responsibility.”

Of the pool lifeguards we spoke to, 91% said the flexible hours meant they were able to fit lifeguarding around other priorities.

“It is very flexible and fits around any other commitments, for example, being a student.”

5. Being a lifeguard opens opportunities

The beauty of lifeguarding is that you can start at any age. The variety of the role means you develop a wide range of skills, which is why 91% of people who’ve worked as a lifeguard believe lifeguarding is a fantastic start to a career.

“It’s a great way for young people to get a foot into lots of different industries. It’s a vast experience and shows future employers that they can work well under pressure, keep organised and have lots of attention to detail.”

“Learning to work as a team and an individual in a leisure environment is the perfect way to be nurtured in the working world.”

In fact, 86% of people who have worked as a lifeguard would recommend it to others.

“It’s a great job to build lots of skills. You have a transferable qualification that’s attractive to employers in a variety of industries. It’s sociable and great team working experience.”

“It helped me develop my skills which I have used to apply for many job roles and bolster my CV. It’s an easy talking point in interviews to draw on examples of teamwork, communication, and organisation.”

Click here to earn more about training to be a lifeguard with RLSS UK

Click here to find your nearest RLSS UK lifeguard course, or contact your local leisure centre

* RLSS UK Lifeguard Surveys Q3 2022, n=1,900 NPLQ holders, n=327 OWL/NVBLQ holders