Alastair Cleland: Six months in, my first thoughts on iGaming recruitment

11 June 2015

1494 Original

​Pentasia's head of recruitment for UK, Ireland and Gibraltar, Alastair Cleland shares his thoughts on the industry, current recruitment trends, and Pentasia's ongoing adaptation to market demands.

I'm a relative newcomer to the iGaming industry. Attracted by its enormous opportunities, my first 6 months have been fascinating.

Before joining Pentasia I was - like many of us - aware of the iGaming’s major operators through their presence on TV and in the press. I would come into first-hand contact with some of the sportsbooks through the placement of the odd wager and would often come across articles highlighting the current business success story.

But only now am I learning the full extent of the industry’s complexity, and its vast network of opportunities. Since joining Pentasia, I've embarked on a pretty steep learning curve. I'm fully aware there's still a lot to learn, but I now feel somewhat qualified to give my thoughts on the industry and current trends.

Growth of contract positions, particularly for technical and digital skills

Important factors such as encouraging stability and protecting intellectual property have led to a heavy bias towards permanent recruitment within iGaming and that looks set to continue. However, current recruitment trends in the wider market, and a scarcity of skilled talent at the moment have led to an increased demand for contact recruitment services. This seems particularly evident when it comes to technical and digital positions where in some disciplines, both fixed and open-ended contracts are now the norm.

Operating a contract recruitment business requires a very different approach to one offering just permanent. It's therefore taken us some time to introduce a contract practice that could meet both the demands of the market and of legislative compliance. However, the completion of its introduction at the start of the year has enabled me to form a team of contract-specific recruiters. If their performance and the market reception is anything to go by, client demand is only going to increase.

In-demand technical skills: product development, design, security and more

As iGaming operators continue to make attempts to differentiate themselves from their competition through the quality of the user experience, product development is still regarded as one of the key drivers of success. To this end, over the past eighteen months Pentasia has experienced a demand in development, design and UX based positions that has grown exponentially month on month and sees no signs of letting up.

It’s also notable that there has been an increase in the number of Information & Network Security positions requirements. This is partly down to the recent spate of mergers and consolidation across the industry that has led to an increase in the number of operators with seven figure user databases. These all require safeguarding and security systems that meet the standards needed to sustain public confidence and comply with increasingly complex regulatory frameworks and we’ve seen an increase in the number of related.

We've therefore continued to add to our IT-specific team in order to meet the growing demand.

Combining industry expertise with specialist knowledge adds value

Specialist job knowledge and defined candidate networks are of paramount importance to every successful recruitment consultancy and nowhere is this truer than in iGaming.

A number of recruitment companies focusing on a particular function across a range of related industries have moved to enter the iGaming market, particularly in Europe, and challenge some of the more industry-focused recruitment companies.

However, Pentasia’s European business model of function specific teams with international remits as well as local experts in each office is ideally suited to provide the specialist job knowledge that clients require and enabled us to maintain our market leading position. Clients look for industry suppliers who are able to educate and consult as well as provide personnel and most appreciate that it’s the value added aspects that often provide the real value.

Maintaining strong recruitment relationships by implementing the right project model

While much of the industry has moved towards a Preferred Supplier List (PSL) model, particularly for its junior- to mid-management recruitment, there is still plenty of room for companies that are positioned correctly to work directly with line managers on a project-by-project basis.

This approach is dependent on the investment of time and resources into ensuring quality, long-term business relationships and is sometimes difficult to maintain. However, by continuing to invest heavily into this aspect over the past decade, we have maintained an engagement model which requires line manager contact. Both our clients and candidates have seen the benefits as a result.

There are so many more areas to be covered and can be done so in future articles. However, for the interests of brevity I have tried to make this succinct. In summation, the rate of change in iGaming is extraordinary and shows no signs of abating. Those suppliers who evolve to suit the market will continue to prosper while those that do not will be left behind.

About the Author: Alastair Cleland

Alastair is director of recruitment at Pentasia, having joined in November 2014. He is a senior sales and recruitment leader with over 18 years’ experience within the recruitment and professional services industry.