Selling your vacancy to candidates might be incredibly easy. They could be a huge fan of your back catalogue, or excited by a project you have in the works, but what about candidates who have their choice of several studios? With so many competing offers, how do you stand out from this talented crowd?
The games industry can be an incredibly competitive marketplace for top talent. The devil is in the details, and it might be something seemingly small which attracts that perfect candidate to your studio over your competitors. Perks and benefits play a huge part in the decision-making process. With studios now experimenting with a whole manner of employment extras to woo their most skilled future employees, which perks and benefits specifically have attracted the most attention from candidates over the last 12 months?
It’s not hard to see why subsidised travel is one of the most appreciated benefits of working for an employer. “With the increasing cost of public transport, being able to take this concern out of the equation can help attract a more diverse range of applicant, regardless of financial constraints. You’ll not only appeal to those who live locally, but interest from further afield will be able to now consider you as a viable option,” says Simon Hope, Recruitment Director. It’s a perfect example of a small thing that can make a big difference!
Speaking of further afield, some of your best candidates could not only be moving counties, they most likely will be moving countries too! This can be a huge transition for anyone, and a massive culture shock. Making this easier for a candidate will make their decision a much simpler one. “Nice additional extras include visa support (which also extends to spouses), a month (or more) of temporary accommodation, and covering the cost of the shipment of goods. All of these may not be possible for you, or would be dependent on the role, but they make a huge difference to a candidate,” adds Chris Mellor, Senior Recruiter. A nice bonus would be free foreign language courses, provided if the candidate isn’t entirely fluent with the native language. This will not only help their personal development, but it will also boost your internal productivity as communication is actively improved within the business. Make sure foreign candidates don’t feel alienated from the team.
Duvet days can be a really attractive proposition to candidates, and they’ve actually been proven to limit the number of sick days taken across a business. Duvet days allow an employee to take time off without notice. It isn’t sick and it wouldn’t be classified as annual leave either. Gone are the days when employees had to ‘pull a sickie’ if they were really not feeling motivated to work. With a duvet day, there is no requirement for an employee to provide an excuse for wanting the day off. Although limited in number, many employers within the games industry are adding duvet days into their terms of employment in an effort to improve the mental health of their team.
It goes without saying this year, but remote work actually does work for the video games industry more than any other creative sector. “Not only does the option of remote work allow candidates that are more comfortable and productive working in their own space to do so, but it also expands your potential talent pool significantly. An office job isn’t an option for everyone. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be the best hire you’ve ever made,” suggests programming Recruitment Consultant, Jordan Bateman. Even if remote isn’t an option full time for your studio, modernise your company policies and have something in place for religious/cultural holidays, and make the relevant allowances for carers, those with disabilities, mental health, and parents.
Flexible Working Hours
Core hours are important, especially if specific meetings need to occur, but offering flexibility around this is a perfect way to get the best out of the people who work for you (and will allow you to attract more people who want this kind of work culture). Not everyone is productive, or does their best work, between the hours of 9am – 4pm. Candidates have other commitments in their everyday life too, from childcare to doctor’s appointments. Relaxing office hours to accommodate every possible eventuality is a good way to relieve the pressures of everyday life for specific candidates, and is the perfect way of uplifting the benefits you offer.
This newer trend, started in the US, has become more and more popular for market-leading businesses this side of the Atlantic. “It obviously doesn’t work for everyone, but until it’s as common as flexitime, unlimited holidays are a perfect way to make your business stand out from the pack,” states Simon. Be aware, unlimited doesn’t mean unlimited in the usual sense of the word. What it really means is ‘we’re not really counting.’ Many candidates can feel pressure to not take holidays, either to avoid handover stress or because they simply do not want to come back to a full inbox. Adding this into your work policy can normalise annual leave-taking and prevent burnout. If you’re planning to implement this, however, make sure to set out clear expectations from the start. One employee might be fine with just taking 15 days of holiday, whilst another might want 40. This would be fine under an unlimited holiday policy but be mindful that it’s those that take less holiday which will be picking up the slack. It’s a balancing act. Even if you can’t offer this due to business constraints, providing candidates with the opportunity to buy more holiday, through salary sacrifice, is a lesser alternative.
Knowing their family will be taken care of, in the event of the worst happening, is something that will put a lot of candidate’s minds at ease, especially those that have children. The industry average is typically hovering around 2x annual salary, but some studios are now offering up to 4x. It’s also not unheard of to offer candidates up to 10x through salary sacrifice. Couple this with a comprehensive medical care scheme, covering dental, eye, and all-round health, and any potential employee will know you’ve got their best interests at heart.
The chance to work on cutting-edge tech and exciting new projects are really good conversation starters which will appeal to candidates, but you sometimes just can’t beat financial compensation. From share options, to project and discretionary performance bonuses, incentivising a job well done is a great way to not only motivate your team, but to attract hard-working talent who will want to impress.
After speaking with partner studios and clients, these are some of the top perks and benefits that candidates are looking for when it comes to deciding which role is going to be best for them.
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