Covid 19: what next for igaming employers?

Recruitment may not be the first item on the agenda for employers at the moment but for those in a position to take a long-term approach, the market has resoundingly turned in their favour, writes Cara Kerr


Recruitment may not be the first item on the agenda for employers at the moment but for those in a position to take a long-term approach, the market has resoundingly turned in their favour, writes Cara Kerr.

Who can tell what the next few months will bring? For HRs and business leaders, the future is about as uncertain as it’s ever been.

Priority, quite rightly, has first been placed on protecting workers amidst often significant threats to business, and thankfully many thousands of industry jobs have been saved worldwide. But what comes next?

Recruitment may not be the first item on an igaming employers’ agenda. In fact, recruitment freezes or delayed processes have already slowed the market considerably.

As we consider the path ahead, though, two factors will play an important role in bringing recruitment plans back to the forefront:

  1. Business must go on. Even despite the widespread ‘shutdowns’ to daily life worldwide, the usual evolution of careers and companies continues, and employers will still need to hire new people where they are required to keep operations going, and growing.
  2. High-skilled candidates are now available for hire. The circumstances are clearly far from ideal, but the ‘talent market’ has now swung in employers’ favour. After years where employers have struggled to fill many specialist roles, now could even present something of an opportunity. "The most far sighted HR-ers are already looking beyond the flattened curve," according to The Economist last week. "For a savvy HR chief it's the perfect opportunity."

The igaming sector, we firmly believe, has the creativity, resilience and core strength to weather this storm.

We’ve already been heartened to see many employers committed to not only their existing staff, but also extending opportunities to new candidates. People – good people – will be critical if the industry is to come out of this stronger. The challenges: remote-ness and reductions It is without doubt that the challenges this market presents for employers in every sector, including igaming, are great. HR bosses and business leaders will be focusing on:

  • Prioritising existing employees’ jobs
  • Maintaining the strongest possible staff base for current and future circumstances
  • Enabling all possible operations to continue on a remote, working-from-home, basis
  • Conducting full recruitment processes online

Ultimately, the challenge of preserving existing employees’ jobs takes absolute priority.

This has been the focus of businesses so far, with many introducing significant measures – including the foregoing of bonuses, temporary furloughing and salary reductions – to avoid making workforce reductions.

Practically, too, HR bosses and business leaders are rapidly adapting to conducting entire operations on a remote basis. Some businesses are more adaptable than others to this way of working, but even those for whom ‘remote-only’ is possible in theory must ensure that communications, team unity and productivity remain carefully managed. Interview processes for new positions will, for the time being, need to be conducted entirely by video link. Whilst for many (mostly tech and sales) this is nothing new, running full hiring processes in this manner will require a leap of faith for some.

The opportunity: hire top talent now It may sound counter-intuitive, but for those in a position to take a long-term approach, now is truly a strategic opportunity to hire and grow.

For years, demand for talent has far outstripped supply and employers have fought hard to attract staff and grow teams. Now though (through circumstances self-evidently far from ideal), the market has resoundingly turned: job vacancies are now significantly outnumbered by available candidates. For those who can make the stretch, this "employer's market" for talent offers an unseen-in-recent-times opportunity to make world-class hires. To summarise the current opportunities for employers:

  • Availability of talent across the board has increased, creating significantly more choice for employers.
  • Hard-to-fill roles (such as those requiring specialist skills or languages) will now become easier to source for. The best candidates won’t be immediately on the market, but may be more open to considering something new, given the circumstances.
  • Remote workers - such as those in tech and sales - can be hired for roles now regardless of location. Even after this crisis lifts, work can still be conducted remotely.
  • Entire new functions of businesses are rapidly adapting to remote working practices. This change needn't be temporary, so employers could benefit from hiring remote staff, thereby overcoming previous geographical barriers to hiring.
  • World-class leadership talent with specialist industry experience (a rare find in normal times) will become available for hire.

Plus, it’s also easier than ever to arrange confidential discussions with candidates, who are – by necessity – largely working from home, away from colleagues and bosses.

Cara Kerr is head of Europe for Pentasia, where she leads the sales team and oversees strategy for the gambling recruitment specialist on the continent. She focuses on non-technical hires, in marketing, product, analytics, sales, business, development, account management and legal and compliance, from entry to director level.