The effects of COVID-19 are being felt everywhere, across many industries. Global workforces and academic institutions have had to adapt their practices to accommodate government guidance and safeguard public wellbeing. We have all had to take our own precautions and sacrifices. Whether that be as simple as social distancing and ensuring hands are regularly washed, to self-isolation and working from home (where possible).
Many students were hoping to graduate this summer to celebration and fanfare, to embark on careers they have worked so hard to achieve. There is an aura of uncertainty now as a generation of the brightest soon-to-be game devs complete lectures online and have no clarity about when they will graduate.
For those students on games-related courses, now is usually the time of year when they would be exploring graduate opportunities in the video games industry. Does the spread of COVID-19 mean that graduate recruitment will stop?
Well, please let me reassure all those students, parents and academics that have worked hard – graduate recruitment in the games industry has been affected, but it has most definitely not stopped! Whilst a small percentage of companies have indeed placed a hold on further recruitment drives until more is known about our current situation, the majority have not. Most are going ahead with remote hiring processes, which lead to remote working positions until such a time that we can all return to office spaces.
At Aardvark Swift, and Grads in Games, we’ve spent the past two weeks consulting with games studios across the world, discussing their plans for managing recruitment during the next few weeks. I am happy to report that over 77% of studios reported that they are still actively recruiting as normal, just with added flexibility in working. This is hugely promising for the games industry. While many industries are unable to continue with business as normal, game studios are able to be adaptable in this new climate.
The one hurdle for some games studios will be the onboarding process. Conducting interviews is easily done remotely, but getting somebody started in a new role and set up with the right equipment can be an understandable challenge. This problem is more prominent when hiring experienced game dev professionals. This is where graduate recruitment has the upper hand. Many students are likely not going to be available until June (at the very earliest) and can be much more flexible with start dates and hardware requirements. While recruitment of experienced personnel may be delayed, for the time being, there is no reason to hesitate when it comes to making graduate hires.
One thing affected by the current crisis is career events and face-to-face visits. This can’t be helped, but again there are solutions. How do you make sure the very best students are aware of your graduate opportunities? While many games studios will have been planning their university activities for this time of year, we’ve visited over 30 universities and met with over 3000 game dev students this academic year. We’re also running an online Search for a Star Finals Day in the next few weeks. We’ve been working with this year’s final year students for months, helping them to build their CV and portfolio. These are industry-ready and already securing jobs.
My message to students, concerned about their future, is simple; the industry is still looking for you!
My message to studios? We have access to the talent pipeline, and we know where to find the graduates you need!
There is no reason this generation of promising games devs should be lost.
Andy Driver is the Operations Manager for Grads in Games and leads the graduate recruitment team at Aardvark Swift. To discuss your graduate recruitment plans, or if you’d like to send your CV/portfolio to us, email firstname.lastname@example.org