The games industry needs new expertise, not just new talent

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It’s no secret that the Finnish tech industry suffers from a shortage of talent – and within the industry, there’s a broad consensus about the key issues as well as the urgency of resolving them. However, for a long time public discussion was fixated on numbers – how many new developers or designers Finland will need in the coming years. Luckily, the conversation has since gained new layers. Nowadays, Finnish gaming and tech companies are painfully aware of the need for new types of skills, instead of just new talent.

Time to update your talent profile?

The gaming industry, like most passion-driven industries, has a history of confusing work and play: developers were often also enthusiastic gamers, who built games they wanted to play themselves. Today, game studios view their products more broadly as part of the global entertainment industry, and Finnish games are regularly built and live operated for millions of international players.

As the competitive landscape has developed, so has the need for new types of expertise. Finnish game studios need more employees with experience in building and marketing international brands, as well as growing the communities that form around them. Since only a handful of Finns have previous experience operating service businesses for millions of users, these employees must increasingly be sought from abroad – and often from outside the games industry.

Do game creators and players meet?

The global audience for games has also changed fundamentally over the last 30 years and is now much more diverse than it was in the 90s. Players today are older and represent a variety of different nationalities, backgrounds, and genders.

For example, 48% of mobile gamers and almost half of PlayStation owners nowadays are women.

This shift has been much slower among creators of games – for example, only just over a fifth of Finnish gaming professionals are women.

We need talent with different mindsets and experiences to meet the needs of a diversifying audience and boost our competitiveness. This means a wider range of people with multitudes of strengths – employees representing different genders, generations, cultures and nationalities to strengthen the entire industry’s competitiveness.

How does your company contribute?

It’s easy to talk about the need for new types of skills and backgrounds – but how can we bring people with different talents into the industry and genuinely integrate them into Finnish studios? I believe that most companies still have the potential to develop their capabilities to onboard skilled professionals who lack experience in gaming but have valuable expertise in areas like brand building, marketing, storytelling, or community management.

Game studios will also need to focus on creating paths for young people interested in the field that do not require years of work experience. Naturally, these efforts don’t stop at attracting new professionals: what will be crucial for game studios, in the long run, is their ability to develop a culture in which both veterans and newcomers can grow.

These are the activities Metacore is focusing on now:

  1. We invest in our employees’ well-being because we know that passion-driven work can be exhausting. That’s why we’ve hired an in-house psychologist who anyone can talk to on a low threshold. And because we know that it’s not just the amount of work that can be burdensome, we’re focusing on clarifying ownership and responsibilities internally.
  2. Later this spring, we’re launching an internship program through which we will offer young professionals the opportunity to get to know the industry and gain valuable experience in gaming, as well as improve their chances of being employed by top companies in the industry.
  3. When we recruit international professionals, we invest time in understanding the local gaming industry and culture. We really want to understand why these experts want to work in Finland so that we can better support them in moving and adapting to the Finnish games industry.

These I promise to do myself:

  1. I want to expand the multiplier effect of our recruitment within the industry – so for each successful recruitment decision we make, I will introduce one promising candidate to another gaming company, if this suits the applicant.
  2. As part of our internship program beginning in the spring, I will personally match each intern with a suitable mentor from within Metacore and make sure the mentoring meetings get started and continue for at least six months.