If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that we can never take too much for granted. Covid-19 may or may not be something that we continue to look at through the rear view mirror, but its legacy of remote and hybrid working continues to provide opportunities while posing questions around productivity.
Throw in the ever-present issue of a persistent skills shortage and a cost of living crisis that was nowhere to be seen twelve months ago, and it’s clear that it’s a unique and challenging time for game industry recruitment. To help us get a clear picture of how things have been, how they are now and how they might develop over the coming year, we’ve asked a crack team of in-house and agency recruitment experts to give us their take on the state of games industry recruitment, both for those with positions to fill and those eager to find their next challenge. Last up is Kim Parker Adcock, founder and managing director at OPMjobs.
What have been the main challenges that recruiters have faced during 2022 and how have they/you worked to overcome them?
It’s been a very busy year, the Year of the Great Resignation. One challenge has been that according to research, 55% of candidates accept a role but keep looking. We have addressed this within our process in keeping in touch with candidates regularly during the entire process and beyond their start date.
With notice period and visas it can be up to five months between acceptance and start date and warm communication in that period is essential for all parties. Counter offers from current employers have understandably been frequent. However, some of the salaries we are seeing are simply not sustainable and I worry about future redundancies as Investors get anxious and the population return to pre-covid behaviours.
How is the worsening cost of living crisis manifesting itself in terms of recruitment and in-work support?
Higher basic salary demands. Inability to relocate due to mortgage increases. Inability to move due to negative equity. Resigning purely to take jobs that have a high basic as opposed to reward based income. More demand for remote working, but less remote jobs available. Some companies paying energy cost bonus. Mental health support has never been more important.
Is remote / hybrid working here to stay?
I believe so although there are less vacancies out there offering fully remote. Human behaviour has returned to pre-Covid trends, but we all like being at home. Conversely, some people, myself included, miss being in the office not just for productivity but for social interaction. We are seeing occasional candidates looking for a new job because they want to work at the office/studio.
One notable negative of the last two years is the number of jobs people now have on their CVs. We’ve seen as many as four jobs in one year, where people have been tempted away again and again. This is a dangerous habit and one which may be off-putting to employers as normality returns to the hiring process.
Do you feel the industry has moved forward in terms of diversity and inclusion this year? How so? Can you offer any examples?
Absolutely! I feel the industry has always been hugely accepting of diversity, but are now actively and publicly encouraging it. One love in games. I’m super proud of that.
What industry initiatives or programmes put in place recently (by your organisation or others) have inspired or impressed you and why?
Level Up with Safe In Our World focused us on having structure to our mental health support plans. Although we already had a Mental Health First Aider, we now have an online/24-7 /live chat/free counselling service www.spectrum.com for all staff and their families.
Ukie’s #RaiseTheGame pledge has enabled us to be totally transparent about our all inclusive culture, for our clients, candidates, and OPM’s own team. We can only hire people if they show interest or apply and we must all continue to actively invite diverse folks into our organisations.
What are your predictions for 2023 in terms of the challenges and opportunities that recruiters might face?
There have been some big redundancies in the last month, and much that they are devastating for all concerned, this is something we see in our industry and others around November. Has always struck me as particularly cruel, although I understand the business reasons.
There will be more candidates looking in the early months, and we are seeing applications increase for those wishing to start a new role in the New Year. I expect this to continue well into the next fiscal year. Some of the salaries that are being paid are simply not sustainable. Much that there was a LOT of big funding available in 2020 and 2021, that’s reducing now as the world is in such an uncertain place.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give someone looking to find or fill a role that you wouldn’t have considered a year ago?
Ask what their need or want for remote working is based on – this goes both ways. Get to know people. Assume nothing from a CV or a job spec – ask, ask, and ask again. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. In a world where we only see a screen full of a whole human we miss body language clues so make sure you meet face to face wherever possible.
If you’re looking to fill a role, be flexible about workspace and hours. Don’t hire if you think you may not be able to afford to keep them beyond the next project, especially if relocation is necessary.
I know that’s more than one!