How Do You Compare to Your Sporting Heroes?

Sports Pro versus Average Joe: The Race to £1 Million

They may be quicker than you on the pitch or round the track but how do your favourite sports stars compare to you at speed of earning?

Expert Market UK has analysed data from the Forbes 2016 rich list and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to put the salaries of some of the most successful athletes of 2016 into perspective. The results show how long it takes for top athletes to earn £1 million, compared to the average working individual. By considering high earning athletes' salaries in terms of how quickly they can make £1 million makes it much easier to grasp the scale of their financial achievements. Try the quiz below to find out who sets the pace and who has to chase in the race to £1 million. The results may surprise you!

Quick off the Mark

The world's fastest earning athlete is Cristiano Ronaldo. He can reach the millionaire's mark in just over 45 working hours, or one working week. Second to Ronaldo is fellow footballer Lionel Messi, while American footballer Joe Flacco sits in third place. In Britain, Lewis Hamilton comes out on top: the formula one racer can pass to the million pound finish line in 7.57 working days.

Sports Occupations Speed of EarningClick image above to see full sized

Perhaps predictably, out of the ‘normal’ jobs, chief executives ranked first. The business leaders can earn the grand total of £1 million in just eight years, on average. Bartenders may want to start taking those weekend workouts more seriously however, as this profession fared the worst. Modest average hourly earnings of £6.78 means it will take 72 years of shifts for staff to total the amount. Further data on speed of earning, for various athletes and occupations, is available at the end of this article.

On The Back Foot

One similarity between sports stardom and everyday occupations is the disappointing fate of women. Depressingly, no women made it into the top 20 rankings for quickest earning athletes in 2016 and only 5 women were featured in the top 30. American mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey is the quickest female to earn £1 million and could do so in 31.84 days - not bad at all, but over five times slower than the quickest earning male athlete.

Women lagged behind men across every ‘ordinary’ profession studied too, except those working as vets. The average female professional would take 35.44 years to earn £1 million, trailing 3.7 years behind the average male.

The Data

The data uses a selection of high earning athletes from various sports and a range of occupations from various industries, to reflect a wider portion of society. All data is based on full-time work pre-tax earnings, excluding endorsement deals, and is reported in GBP (£). All salaries are normalised to a 5 day working week of 8 hours per day, for all 253 working days of 2016.


IndividualSportDays to reach £1 million
Cristiano RonaldoFootball, Real Madrid5.68
Lionel MessiFootball, Barcelona5.96
Joe FlaccoAmerican Football, Baltimore Ravens7.23
Lewis HamiltonFormula 1 Racing, Mercedes7.57
Sebastian VettelFormula 1 Racing, Ferrari7.96
Eli ManningAmerican Football, New York Giants8.60
Floyd MayweatherBoxing9.93
Ryan HowardBaseball12.72
Gareth BaleFootball, Real Madrid12.77
LeBron JamesBasketball, Cleveland Cavaliers13.71
Manny PacquiaoBoxing14.79
Matt KempBaseball, Atlanta Braves15.01
Wayne RooneyFootball, Manchester United15.83
Bastian SchweinsteigerFootball, Manchester United16.40
Peyton ManningAmerican Football, retired in 201616.56
Conor McGregorMixed Martial Arts17.67
Eden HazardFootball, Chelsea18.71
Sergio AgüeroFootball, Manchester City18.95
NeymarFootball, Barcelona21.95
Stephen CurryBasketball, Golden State Warriors27.45
Ronda RouseyMixed Martial Arts31.84
Serena WilliamsTennis35.74
Andy MurrayTennis39.76
Danica PatrickStock Car Racing40.31
Roger FedererTennis40.78
Rory McIlroyGolf41.86
Rafael NadalTennis57.84
Agnieszka RadwanskaTennis61.24
Usain BoltAthletics127.22
Maria SharapovaTennis167.41
Caroline WozniackiTennis318.38
Eugenie BouchardTennis454.82
Tiger WoodsGolf1,160.66

'Ordinary' Jobs

OccupationYears to reach £1 million
Chief executives or senior official8.09
Marketing and Sales directors11.38
Aircraft pilot11.51
Medical practitioners12.76
Advertising and public relations directors15.78
Legal professional16.91
Information technology and telecommunications professionals21.70
Science, research, engineering and technology professionals22.60
Chartered and certified accountants23.01
Police officer (sergeant or below)24.93
Teaching and educational professionals25.64
Journalists, newspaper and periodical editors26.89
Fire service officer (watch manager or below)30.29
Librarians and related professionals34.89
Youth and community workers38.95
Taxi and cab drivers and chauffeurs38.98
Sports coaches, instructors and officials39.27
Security guards and related occupations42.78
Sales and customer service occupations49.60
Fitness instructor54.95
Shelf Stacker60.66
Hairdresser or barber65.56
Bar Staff72.82

Gender Comparison

OccupationMEN ONLY: Years to reach £1 millionWOMEN ONLY: Years to reach £1 million
Chief executives or senior official7.0811.99
Marketing and Sales directors10.7314.16
Advertising and public relations directors15.1716.63
Legal professional14.7319.75
Information technology and telecommunications professionals21.2425.00
Science, research, engineering and technology professionals22.0725.85
Police officer (sergeant or below)24.2727.06
Teaching and educational professionals23.1627.56
Journalists, newspaper and periodical editors25.4830.23
Fire service officer (watch manager or below)30.2230.78
Librarians and related professionals33.7135.55
Youth and community workers37.1539.77
Sports coaches, instructors and officials38.6840.57
Sales and customer service occupations46.1553.38
Shelf Stacker59.8662.61
Hairdresser or barber53.0167.30
Bar Staff71.9673.88

Facebook comments