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Just the job

Just the job
Every year, after your New Year’s resolutions have been broken and the new gym memberships have been successfully neglected, the recruitment industry welcomes hoards of people like you looking to better themselves.

Unhappy with your overbearing boss? Sick of doing the same tedious tasks over and over again? Appalled at the standard of hot beverages from the vending machine? It’s time to move on – but it’s not always as simple as all that.

To really fulfil your potential, it seems that, after you've had a look at the MCV jobs board, signing up to a recruitment agency is the smart thing to do. With so many well-respected agencies to choose from, there’s a wealth of opportunities out there. All you need is a brushed-up CV and an open mind.

“The major trend we’ve been seeing is of growth,” says Specialmove CEO Andy Campbell. “It’s not just in development, but the industry as a whole. Everything’s growing at a fast pace, studios are expanding fast to build teams and we’re seeing more and more publishers and retailers come to us.”

And that can only mean good things for employees looking to step up a gear. “Companies are prepared to pay the price for new recruits and companies are increasingly reviewing their salary and employment packages to offer both existing and potential staff something to work with,” adds Campbell.

Some companies have been very vocal in taking on new faces en masse, with the likes of Rising Star Games and Sega grabbing headlines of late. Having snapped up the founder of Gamesrecruit, Adrian Brown, to spearhead its recruitment efforts, Sega takes hiring new staff seriously.

“There seems to be a general shift towards having focused recruitment managers, which then takes the pressure off HR and line managers, also allowing these recruitment managers to focus on recruitment as their core discipline,” Brown tells MCV. “This is the direction that Sega has looked at recently to ensure that we recruit the best of the talent within our industry, to help shape the future of the industry.”

But while agencies and recruiters like Sega continue to be on the lookout for the best talent, viable candidates don’t just appear out of thin air – the continual problem of introducing fresh blood into the industry is one that needs to be taken very seriously indeed, continues Brown.

“Youngsters need to be mentored and developed so that in years to come, they shape the development and the creativity of our industry. Companies are now beginning to look more closely at internships and graduate training schemes within studios, taking a much more long-term approach than we are used to.”

Fellow publisher RisingStar games is adopting a similar approach, says MD Martin Defries. “We’ve actually recruited from local universities and it has proved to be a great success – they’re young, they’re gamers, and they’re very, very keen. I think it’s good to have a healthy balance between youth and experience but we are, in general, very keen on getting fresh blood into the company.”

While increasingly there are more and more systems in place to solve this age-old problem, OPM boss Kim Adcock believes that this is still not enough. “The university courses out there still aren’t great – this industry has never been good at training people up,” she tells MCV. “But it is getting better. There’s been a skills shortage for some time, but we’ve also had some jobs open for over a year. I think sometimes people don’t understand that we can’t produce the perfect candidate every time.”

Julien Hofer, founder of agency Datascope, agrees: “It has become more competitive, with higher demands for new skills and fewer people available to meet those demands. The games industry is not attracting enough traditional degree graduates – people are taking too many games courses and not enough math and physics courses.”

Much like its agency contemporaries, Aardvark Swift has addressed this problem head on. “Aardvark has a dedicated graduate recruitment desk,” says Ian Goodhall. “We also actively recruit sales and marketing professionals from complementary industries such as film, television, music. And our dedicated toy recruitment desk now provides us with a regular source of candidates that can transfer their skills across to video games.”

Sega’s recruitment guru Adrian Brown agrees that you can never have enough fresh talent – particularly as there are many, many gamers out there keen to get a break in the games industry.

“If you create good courses then young people will flock to sign up,” he says. “The lack of fresh blood is not necessarily caused by supply but could potentially be restricted by our own inability as an industry to nurture and develop the abundance of talent that we do have. We believe the fresh blood is out there, and it’s our aim to reassure them and show them that Sega will offer them a great, long term and successful future.”
There are, of course, challenges ahead, and more must be done to properly train and attract the right people to our industry.

But with recruitment agencies booming and studios and publishers willing to pay a premium to land the right staff, there’s never been a better time to ditch the old job and make a fresh start.

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