Why Games Industry Staffing Is Broken | Pocket Gamer.biz

Maya Rand is CEO of TheXPlace

Our way of working and finding work is broken, and has been for a long time.

In an industry that is experiencing massive growth and is expected to generate more than $268 billion by 2025, it is amazing to see that the phenomenal talents in the gaming industry still do not easily find the right job for them and that major studios are struggling to find much-needed talent.

The pandemic has accelerated both the volume of people playing games and also the amount of content consumed, and with greater demand for games comes greater demand for talent. Yet the gaming industry is experiencing a huge global skills shortage. It’s also not easy to match the right talent with the right opportunity, especially given the added challenges posed by remote working and distributed teams. Change is desperately needed.

So why is it so hard for businesses and talent to find each other?

An endless search for needles in a haystack

Opportunities should be plentiful for game companies of all sizes, from indie to triple-A. But staffing a specialized position is a time-consuming and expensive process, with companies spending up to 25-60% of annual salary per position on their search.

Our way of working and finding work is broken, and has been for a long time.

Maya Rand

Finding the right talent is crucial to capitalizing on the massive growth trajectory the gaming industry is experiencing, and speed is key. But occupying a specialized position is like finding a needle in a haystack, as there is no easy and direct way to discover, access and evaluate the various skills, references and talent portfolios of today.

Talent appears faceless

While companies struggle to find talent, it’s even harder for professionals in the video game industry.

In search of suitable opportunities, talented gaming professionals can send out hundreds of resumes for months in a vacuum with no response. It’s the result of the industry maintaining archaic practices and systems that waste everyone’s time and effort.

As an industry that produces visually stunning content, it’s disappointing that the systems we all use today are driven solely by words, lots of words, typed into online forms. Professionals have very limited means of being discovered and they don’t have the opportunity to present themselves and their work with rich visuals, home videos that showcase it.

Meaningless Job Titles Waste Costly Time and Effort

Today, in the main employment centers, professional profiles are adapted to all sectors of activity. We continue to use generic titles (“UX designer”, “lead developer”) to describe our past roles, but this makes professionals indistinguishable from each other and requires companies endless time and effect to dig into what the person has actually done, what they specialize in and are interested in. Likewise, generic job descriptions make it difficult for professionals to assess suitable opportunities in the market.

Today’s systems are full of fraud and fake credits

The systems used today – job boards, freelance sites, social networks and “professional networks” – are rife with fraud and fake credits. These systems do not require identification or verification of content at the user and enterprise level.

The systems used today are riddled with fraud and fake credits

Maya Rand

As a result, they serve as breeding grounds for misinformation and fuel mistrust of the industry. The burden of deciphering the truth falls on the studios and talents who must spend more time deciphering the validity, with the risk that they will not succeed.

In recent years, there have been many stories of fake companies and fake projects as well as fake identities or professionals claiming the work of others. As long as there is no verification of identities, business entities and content, claims can be made whether they are true or not. To find themselves, businesses and professionals need peace of mind to know that what they see is what they get.

Eliminate Bias in Hiring Practices

As companies seek to bring more diversity and inclusion into their hiring practices, the big question is how? There are many steps on the path to truly diverse and inclusive hiring practices, and it all starts with your talent pool and ensuring your hiring team is aware of and mitigates bias in the qualification process.

Research shows that even when people have the best intentions, they are held back by inherent biases they may not even be aware of. Technology can certainly help eliminate the biases we bring to decisions, but there have been no technological solutions adopted by the games industry to date that directly address hiring biases.

The future of work with Gen Z and Millennials

Expectations of a change in work are a reality at all levels. The latest generations to enter the gaming industry already make up the bulk of the professional workforce. They want higher salaries, greater flexibility, variety and diversity. They want to be more in control of their careers and their destiny.

It is clear that the practices inherited from the gaming industry, which also perpetuate the club in a closed circle, simply do not work for the new generations.

Maya Rand

The big resignation highlights similar ambitions that have evolved during the pandemic, even with tenured professionals studios are feeling the brunt of these changing expectations in how they are staffed, managed and provide career growth. It is clear that the practices inherited from the games industry, which also perpetuate the club in a closed circle, simply do not work for the new generations. This is why change is not optional but rather crucial.

What businesses and talent need to recognize now

The nature of work is changing and there are issues to be resolved so that the industry can grow and evolve. Shaping the future of work in the games industry starts with recognizing that the search for career opportunities and talent is broken, and then taking action. There should be a better way for businesses and talent to find each other. Our dependence on social networks, “professional networks” and existing job centers does not meet needs.

The solution is a superior form of professional network that serves as a trusted community with a high level of transparency to build much-needed trust. Where vetted businesses, vetted professionals, and verified credits give peace of mind to all parties. Where talent has access to creative and rewarding opportunities that are not limited by geography. Gaming companies enjoy unparalleled access and can mitigate bias while confidently hiring experienced professionals with expertise in a wide variety of disciplines.

In this way, professionals and game companies also benefit. It helps people thrive and feel valued, it creates access to opportunity and a more diverse and inclusive industry, and it’s time to fix the way we work together.

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