September 8, 2021
Finding the right candidates in iGaming has always been difficult but 2020 brought fresh recruitment challenges.
The pandemic forced temporary closure to land based operations, leading to a mass exodus online. This created extreme demand in the tech sector as companies struggled to fill out large new departments with developers and other professionals.
Outside the tech sector recruitment challenges remain largely the same, but the pandemic has drawn attention to several familiar issues.
The talent shortage is still there
Traditionally the industry has been locked in an eternal struggle to acquire top talent with relevant experience. The gap has been hard to close with employers either having to pay more for the most experienced candidates or take a gamble on talented but determined industry novices. This has been particularly difficult in Tech with demand for developers exploding in comparison to the relative lack of qualified talent.
A novel solution to break the stalemate in the typical bidding wars is to add value to iGaming initiates through relevant training. The millennial generation in particular is open to training as a means to enhance career progression, with up to 76% seeing learning as key to career development and 53% disappointed by a lack of personal development training when starting a new job.
Companies such as Rubik, in partnership with iGaming Academy, are helping to bridge this gap through appropriate training, adding value to prospective talent. Employers that can harness the ambition of these hungry young professionals the right way stand to drastically increase retention rates.
In addition to the shallow talent pool, there is rising competition from similar industries such as the burgeoning eSports industry and FX trading for access to the same talent. Employers in iGaming must take this into consideration in recruitment plans and strategy.
Flexibility is now an expectation
Another important factor is the ability to offer remote or flexible opportunities. A necessity in 2020 working from home has become not only a staple in many companies operational strategy but an employee expectation. Pentasia has experienced a 115% increase in remote roles since 2020, more than doubling previous yearly numbers. In Tech more than ever, remote opportunities are seen as the norm rather than the exception, and have been steadily increasing in popularity long before the catalytic action of the pandemic.
Although working from home can’t be expected to suit everyone, most working parents still prefer it, up to 61% according to a FlexJobs poll, with 37% opting for a hybrid system. This is particularly true for non-tech roles where flexibility has become the watchword and many companies are switching to hybrid work schemes. The opportunity to just ‘be there’ more for dependents is a powerful motivator for parents and employers need to adapt hiring strategies accordingly in order to capture this demographic.
It is important to stress that many employees don’t merely expect a flexible schedule these days but see it as a right, with a Business Insider report revealing 39% of employees would consider quitting if not provided with the opportunity to work from home. This is a rather frightening prospect for employers, meaning those that can not offer remote opportunities will be severely disadvantaged.
The BBC revealed earlier this week that the UK government is proposing to give all employees the right to request flexible working when they start new jobs. Whilst employers would be free to deny such requests it is an obvious sign that the times are changing; employees see flexibility as a right, and it may become one.
The salary vs location relationship is changing
The increase in remote opportunities has also changed the relationship between location and salary. A candidate is no longer limited by their location, meaning that companies must offer salaries competitive on a global scale. A company recruiting for tech talent in Manchester is no longer competing with local firms, but with London and the rest of the world. Top talent living in the UK can expect to be approached by American firms and vice versa as companies limited by talent shortages dip their feet in the global pool.
Travel restrictions are exacerbating this trend making it harder for candidates to physically move, whilst boosting the attractiveness of remote contracts. Companies will also need to adapt their payroll systems, despite the legal complexity, to incorporate borderless workers; if they are to be able to offer the most appealing contracts, it has to happen.
Diversity is still a major issue
The industry continues to suffer from a lack of diversity, predominantly at mid-level management, in Tech & in talent pipelines. The gender split is especially difficult to overcome for employers, something that must be addressed with a ground up plan of attack if it is ever going to change.
Building, maintaining and advertising an inclusive company culture will do wonders for attracting existing talent, but such talent is already so thinly scattered that companies need to think more long term if the balance is to shift.
Traditionally in many countries females do not take STEM subjects as readily as males due to societal norms and cultural values that we are still struggling to change. Companies can encourage diversity to flourish by supporting inclusivity initiatives such as Girls Who Code, an international non-profit working to close the gender gap in technology.Other organisations such as Rubik are aiming to diversify the talent pool itself, through training opportunities designed to bridge gaps in inclusion.
The talent market favors employees more than ever
This is nothing new, but is more true than ever before. The move to remote and flexible hiring has drastically increased the convenience of setting up interviews, meaning candidates don’t have to take time off work to travel and their potential choices are global not local.
With such convenience, candidates really have their pick of opportunities and employers will have to work much harder to tempt talent away, particularly in non-tech roles where candidate movement is stagnating.
Whilst demand is higher than ever in Tech, long and complex hiring processes with less human interaction is putting candidates off.
Right candidate or right company?
In today’s market it is not a question of whether candidates are hard to find but why so many employers are failing to react to emerging expectations and familiar industry issues. The talent shortage remains largely unaddressed, remote working and salary expectations are changing and diversity issues remain unchallenged.
Key decision makers will need to work on accommodating the needs of 2021’s workforce as closely as they can if they are to offer the kind of opportunities required to not just acquire but retain the talent of today.
Ineffective recruitment carries huge costs for businesses, both in terms of delays and performance shortfalls. To learn more about our recruitment services connect with Pentasia today.