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Game Development Recruitment Trends 2024: Hiring Amidst Layoffs

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The video game industry has experienced a significant wave of layoffs over the past year. In 2023, over 10,500 workers at game studios lost their jobs, according to data from the Game Industry Layoffs tracker. How the economic turmoil has shifted game development recruitment trends in 2024?

Feeling secure? Game development pulse check

In late 2023, we were still positive, despite the challenges. A survey conducted by 8Bit from September to December 2023 revealed that the majority of Gamedev Salary Pulse respondents felt secure in their positions, although a significant 30% reported feeling insecure about their job stability. As Ondin-Maria Eftinoiu, Lead Recruiter at 8Bit, noted: “A particular trend that I have noticed is a sense of vulnerability among employees working at smaller studios or those operating under the aegis of a bigger publisher. They feel a pronounced concern over the precariousness of their employment, not having a certainty whether their project or studio will be closed any time soon”.

Game development recruitment trends 2024 - job security amidst layoffs

Ondin Eftinoiu also noted that while there was hope at the end of 2023 for a fresh start in the new year, the reality has been quite different. The trend of layoffs has not only persisted but intensified. Over 9,400 game developers were laid off in the first 4 months of the year. Major companies that have announced layoffs in 2024 include TakeTwo Interactive (~600), Electronic Arts (~650), PlayStation Studios (900), Riot Games (530) and many others. “There is a noticeable increase in professionals open to discussing potential new roles. The dialogue in recruitment settings has evolved, with candidates increasingly inquiring about the financial stability of prospective employers. Today candidates exhibit a more conservative stance. They require explicit reassurances regarding their potential future and stability within a company” – said Eftinoiu. What other shifts in the game development recruitment trends we observe in 2024?

Is it true that because of layoffs it’s easier to hire people?

The idea that layoffs make hiring easier due to an increased pool of readily available talents might seem straightforward. Yet it doesn’t reflect the reality of recruitment in the games industry. This topic was a focal point during our LinkedIn Live Event “Gamedev Recruitment Ask Me Anything” in April.

Our recruiters, Ljubica Garic and Patryk Suchy, discussed how this assumption is a common myth. They pointed out that although there are indeed more candidates on the market due to layoffs, this does not necessarily make the recruitment process easier. Many of these candidates are applying broadly, often for roles that do not closely match their skills or experience.

This widespread approach results in a high volume of applications, but these don’t always correlate with the right fit for the role, theoretically necessitating more thorough screening by recruitment teams. However, in practice, these teams often lack the additional time needed for such detailed reviews. This reality leaves many in-house recruiters scrambling to manage their workload effectively.

For job seekers, this environment underscores the importance of tailoring your resume to each specific role. Recruiters today are stretched thin and may not have the capacity to infer your suitability from a generic resume. Clearly articulating how your skills and experience align with the job description can significantly increase your chances of advancing to the interview stage. Yes, customizing your application requires extra effort and time, especially when you might already be tired of revising your resume. But ask yourself: who is better positioned to highlight your qualifications effectively, you or an overburdened recruiter? Investing that extra time to refine your resume can make a substantial difference in capturing a recruiter’s attention in a crowded job market.

Has the average duration of the recruitment process in games industry lengthened or shortened, given the increased availability of candidates ready to start immediately?

From our perspective, the average duration of the recruitment process has generally remained unchanged, even with an increased number of candidates available immediately. It’s crucial for job seekers to remember that recruiters often review applications and start interviews as soon as they receive them. We typically don’t wait for a set period after posting a job before beginning the screening process. Therefore, if you see a relevant job vacancy, it’s important to apply quickly. It will maximize your chances of being considered early in the process.

Are there specific sectors within game development that are more resistant to layoffs and market challenges?

During our Audio Live session, Ljubica Garic and Patryk Suchy highlighted that certain sectors within game development tend to be more resilient to layoffs and market fluctuations. Notably, roles such as Economy Designers and Monetization Designers are often in demand due to their direct impact on a game’s financial success. Additionally, Tech Art roles, which bridge the gap between art and technology – like VFX Artists – tend to have more stability.

Senior Engineering roles typically exhibit greater resilience to layoffs due to the crucial expertise they contribute to game development. This expertise is vital not only for maintaining existing systems but also for developing new technologies. As a result, these professionals are not only more likely to retain their positions during industry downturns. They are also in the better position to find new opportunities more readily if needed.

Want to Stay up to Date with Game Development Recruitment Trends?

Don’t miss out on future insights. Follow our LinkedIn 8Bit – Games Industry Recruitment page for more live “Ask Us Anything” sessions tailored for job seekers, fellow gamedev recruiters, and hiring managers.