Now the initial shock has passed, igaming businesses are finding their feet again. Focus remains on ensuring the safest possible returns to work, and reopening of premises where permitted. But the future of our industry has also been fundamentally shifted, and workforces are already beginning to transform in response, writes Alastair Cleland.
In recruitment, we understand that the ‘quality’ of new hires is now of greater importance than ever. Even for business with bright long-term futures, short-term cashflow issues have added temporary constraints. It’s clear that every hire really counts.
Getting the right person for the job – someone who offers best possible value for money – is therefore critical. Good people are an essential component of every successful business, and in challenging times, even more so.
Grit, resilience and strong core skills are traits that will continue to serve igaming businesses well as the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and its economic effects, continues on.
iGaming: Optimism for future growth
The igaming industry went into 2020 with huge optimism for future growth. Whilst major sub-sectors of the gambling industry – notably, sports betting, land-based casinos and retail – have suffered setbacks, it is heartening that, broadly, long-term outlooks remain positive.
It seems that short-term sporting event cancellations – and reduced betting opportunities – do not necessarily mean longer-term problems for the industry.
Even in the US, despite shockways being sent through the land-based industry, “Covid-19 has sent American gamblers online”, according to an Economist headline. Only 8% of the population yet have access to legal online gambling, but signs are strong for those early adopting states, as evidenced by significant advances in igaming across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
The end of the talent shortage?
For years we’ve been charting a clear talent shortage in our industry. Skills including tech, product, compliance and analytics have all been in desperately short supply. It has limited sector growth.
So, will rising unemployment saturate the market and end the talent shortage?
Certainly, ‘not yet’ is the picture we’re seeing. And in fact, considering igaming’s requirement for highly skilled and specialist staff, it seems unlikely that the talent shortage will be abated by this trend alone.
As other industries face workforce reductions, igaming employers will likely receive increased quantities of applications from out-of-industry. In these cases, it will be the job of experienced recruiters to assess candidates’ potential, above and beyond their directly-relevant experience. Specialist industry training and upskilling will also prove key.
Covid-19 travel and border restrictions have, until recently, prevented many candidates from securing work overseas. As these restrictions have begun to be eased, international relocation for roles has returned. In fact, as new igaming markets regulate and expand, cross-border recruitment remains a priority for much of the industry.
To fully support the igaming industry’s evolution (including the pivot from retail to online for example, or capitalising on esports), ensuring highly skilled individuals can enter and progress through the talent pipeline will be more vital than ever.
Alastair Cleland is managing director of Pentasia Recruitment Group, a specialist igaming recruitment agency. With 23 years’ experience managing large and multi-location agencies, Alastair has a track record of delivering hard-to-reach candidates for growing companies.