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Recruitment Special

Ben Parfitt
Recruitment Special

2009 was a turbulent year for the industry’s workforce, with publishers and developers falling to economic troubles and jobs cut across the board. But now that the worst of recession are behind us, recruitment agencies are optimistic that this year will see a significant improvement.

“2010 is a very exciting time in the games industry with new companies and innovative business models creating new opportunities and fresh challenges,” says Specialmove CEO Andy Campbell.

“Things are improving, headcount requirements are opening up more, and candidates are considering their options.

Datascope’s managing director Julien Hofer adds: “This year is likely to bring a raft of new projects and the creation of new companies, providing a great opportunity for people in the industry to use their experience to carve out a new role for themselves. It should be an exciting year to find a new position working on ground-breaking new technologies and initiatives.”

And the industry needs these new opportunities. The fiscal troubles of the past year have taken their toll on firms and their staff, with jobs lost across everything from individual departments to entire companies. The resultant rise in industry workers looking for new or more stable employment has presented new challenges for both recruitment agencies and applicants.

“Due to the economic climate, competition for roles has never been higher,” says Campbell.

“While the environment is definitely improving, a high number of exceptionally qualified individuals are still competing for a limited number of roles.”

Stig Strand, head of Amiqus’ games recruitment team revealed the firm has experienced significant slowdown in the number of high profile employers looking for staff, despite the games industry’s strong performance this year.

He says: “Throughout the economic downturn, employers have become more focused on the quality of hire, the salaries being paid and the level of internal sign off for a new role internally, which in some cases has made the recruitment process more protracted than before.”

OPM Jobs managing director Kim Adcock adds: “Many companies scaled down their HR staff during the recession and may not have the internal capacity deal with an influx of CVs effectively. Companies are also being more particular than ever before. They simply cannot afford to employ somebody who fails, therefore thoroughness have never been more important.”

With the economy is starting to improve, publishers and developers are expected to make further investment in new projects this year, which can only result in new jobs across various positions. Agencies have already seen a rise in job opportunities and predict this trend will continue.

“Publishing, distribution and retail were the first areas to cut back on recruitment,” Adcock says. “They are also the first areas to recover and we’ve seen a dramatic increase in commercial vacancies in the last six weeks.”

Gaming’s growing influence around the world also means foreign opportunities are being presented, either in the form of new placements in other markets or a new workforce competing with local talent for UK positions.

However, this comes with a price and recruitment agencies are calling on the Government to ensure British applicants aren’t cast aside in favour of those from further afield.

“The industry is more global than ever, and this has resulted in a marked increase in terms of international recruitment,” says Amiqus’ principal games consultant Peter Leonard.

“This is a double edged sword, as it does mean that the UK can attract individuals from Europe, Scandinavia and North America.”

Adcock adds: “The Government needs to recognise that the UK Games Industry is still the place worldwide professionals want to work, we are their first choice.
“They are seriously damaging the ability of this country to maintain this status and also increase its income with its current policy.”

As such, agencies are hoping to prosper in the coming months, encouraging their clients to seek expert advice in order to find the talent required to stave off financial instability in the future.

“Finding and hiring the very best staff with expert – and independent – help will be much more cost-effective in the long run than taking on second-rate people at inflated salaries,” says Hofer. 

Aardvark Swift director Ian Goodall agrees: “Companies should speak to an expert. An experienced recruitment consultant should be able to advise on the best recruitment method to use for the specific roles.”

The industry is once again finding its feet after enduring some tough times, and agencies believe now is the perfect time for its members to find their place. There may be less opportunities than there used to be, but employers are still on the lookout for new ideas and skills.

Adcock concludes: “We predict that companies will need to hire this year, so if you want a change make it now.”

SEEKING NEW CHALLENGES?

The industry’s leading recruitment experts offered this advice to those looking for new employment in 2010...

* Be aware of the changes in the jobs market over the last 18 months.

* Be aware of joining companies that are not financially safe.

* A strong CV is essential, preferably accompanied by a covering letter for every vacancy you apply for.

* Speak to the experts and recruitment consultants, who can offer CV advice, salary guidance and market information.

* Avoid agencies that don’t have the full details of a vacancy; they may not have permission to send your CV to the company that is hiring.

* Make sure your CV is not being sent to companies without your express permission.

* Ensure you weigh up all possible opportunities available to you, both with your current employers and elsewhere.

* Show potential employers that you’ve researched their company, its history and it current situation at each stage of your application.

* Ensure all aspects of your application are carefully targeted at the specific role, and show that you understand everything that the position requires.

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