Simon Banks and Marie Theobald: The changing landscape in recruitment

As the CasinoBeats Summit continues to get underway today, we caught up with a few of the speakers from ‘The art of recruitment’ panel to discuss what  some of the predominant trends in the sector are, and how Brexit might have an impact.

Simon Banks, Chief Executive of Star Recruitment, explained that a technology background is a sought after criteria, while Marie Theobald, Chief People Officer at Hero Gaming, added that having advanced talent acquisition tech tools has become key.

How can the online gaming sector possibly meet the resources it is likely to need as the industry continues to bloom?

MT: Over the years the industry has built a good talent pool, yet the pool is still small. We need to be sharper in seeing how people from other industries may add value to our industry. Additionally, educational opportunities which are specifically aimed towards the operational and commercial aspects of our business are limited, and internal learning and development opportunities could definitely be better supported by externally provided educational programmes. There is certainly space and opportunity to close this gap.

SB: While there is global growth in the industry, consolidation and mergers in mature markets have led to redundancies, so a priority is to move people from mature markets to growing ones. For example, Maltese based operators are short of experienced sports traders while the UK has a surfeit of them. That said, overall growth will create demand for people but increasingly it is looking to technologically skilled recruits rather than gaming experts, which allows the industry to draw on a larger pool.

What are the predominant trends that we are seeing across the recruitment sector?

SB: More and more companies are looking for tech people; developers and coders etc. It is noticeable that some companies are advertising themselves to potential employees as tech companies who happen to do gaming. For example, one large operator, which employs 1500 people, currently advertises 72 vacancies but none of them are in the “Sportsbook” section.

Also, there is decreasing demand for odds compilers and market makers as pricing becomes more automated and reliant on algorithms. Traders are now expected to be more concerned with controlling liabilities.

MT: A visible investment in employer branding has been made by many companies in scope of overcoming challenges in talent acquisition. This is certainly one of the predominant trends in recruitment. This of course does not eliminate the support that headhunters and recruitment agencies give organizations in ensuring that the best talent recruited for more specialized roles.

Additionally, having advanced talent acquisition tech tools has become key in ensuring that we are fast and effective in our process which enables a smooth and selective process in bringing the right talent on board.

How do we recruit quickly and inclusively?

MT: Offering the right selection and interviewing training to people within HR and Hiring Managers alike, is a good starting point to ensure that our internal culture which promotes diversity and inclusivity, and is non-discriminatory, is also externalized through our recruitment process, where those interviewing are aligned. 

Having both HR and a Hiring manager involved in the recruitment process is also beneficial in ensuring that people are selected based on culture and role fit. Also as mentioned above, having advanced talent acquisition tech tools has become key in ensuring that we are fast and effective in our process which enables a smooth and selective process in bringing the right talent on board.

SB: As a recruitment company, the recruitment timeline is determined by the client and some mover quicker than others. As we have grown, we have built up a good network of potential candidates, so it doesn’t usually take us long to find people for specific roles when they arise.

Companies will have to be inclusive if they want to get the best people. I think too many operators still portray the industry through their advertising as predominately male and white. That perhaps explains why we see a lack of diversity in the candidates we deal with.

With Brexit looming, how might this affect recruitment across the gambling industry?

SB: At this point in time I think anybody who says they know what effect Brexit will have on anything probably doesn’t. That said, there will probably be some restrictions on freedom of movement in the future, which may restrict the potential labour pool the UK industry can draw on. 

It’s interesting that GVC recently expressed concerns over possible delays at the border of Spain and Gibraltar. Also, the move by Bet 365 to relocate a significant number of roles from Gibraltar to Malta  may signal their concerns over the future viability of the Rock as a jurisdiction post Brexit.

MT: Hero Gaming has offices in both Malta and Sweden. As such from a talent perspective we do not see Brexit effecting us negatively and time will tell whether Brexit will instigate the migration of talent based in the UK, across the shores.