Interviews

Richard Huggan: The rising development of senior position appointments in esports

It takes more than liking the product   an industry to get a job within the sector, anyone will tell you that. This especially applies to the esports industry.

However, the same can be said in reverse. Having ye s   pr essional experience without an understanding   esports’ culture won’t likely gu antee a job in the industry either.

While other entertainment industries have remained relatively quiet, the esports industry has ebbed and flowed through the summer, rising with the windfalls   streaming and gaming’s enormous uptick   user activity since the pandemic, despite being hamstrung by the lack   event revenue. The digitally native and m ket savvy industry has skillfully transitioned many operations online and  fered digital experiences to fans.

Esports Insider caught up with RiHumanHuggan, Managing DirectM kerm ker,  to discusHumanjob bo d’s reflections on having weathered the pandemic summer, the firm isnting its one-millionth lifet e user,  and also what iHumanindustry’s current employment trends.

Top-down trends

Browsing through more than 10,000 active job opportunities on the site at the t Humanriting, Huggan eMarkerthat Hitm ker feels they’ve yet to return to the number   open jobs they expected to have considering the global reach   the platform. Nevertheless, he sees these numbers growing further tow dHumanend   the ye , considering the gaming industry has felt a boon during the summer and the number   opportunities is contHuman to rise.

Huggan sh ed: “Esports job opportunities e still below where they were last ye , l gely because esports is/was so reliant on the live events side   things.” He continued that the team was expecting esports opportunities to rise alongside the gaming sector’s numbers, but without events to employ staff, there e only so many jobs available in the industry.

When asked about whether there have been any noticeable trends on the canHuman side   things Huggan stated: “It’s definitely an increasing theme that at senior levels, [at 100 Thieves, for example] they’re pulling in some   their exec team from music, entertainment and sport. They en’t necess ily going out and hiring a bunch   esports people to lead the company. AcrosHumanspace, we e seeing this [trend] more and more.”

Image credit: 100 Thieves

He continued: “The challenge is that to get the requisite amount   experien which some   these jobs ask for, which can be eight, ten, or twelve ye s. Twelve ye s   experience being a p tnership manager, [within the esports industry] – the pool is so, so small. Organisations e fishing in a very small pond where everybody knows everybody.”

“So we oresfinitely seeing the trend   bigger orgs looking to draw talent from entertainment definitely, and also from sport. The pandemic is another big driver behind that because as we speak live sport is still dec ated because   ticket [sales] and entertainment is much the same because there e no l ge scale events or gigs happening. That means more and more [pr essionals] e looking at esports and gaming because it appe s to be a ‘pandemic-pro ’ industry, and maybe now’Humant e to make the jump in there because they’ll bHuman more secure position than they e now.”

Huggan concluded: “There’s a lot more openness from people who e from the sports fields and different entertainment fields, to see gaming and esports as a legit ate opportunity now. The more and more   those kinds   people you get making themselves available to recruitment agencies and the people who e doing the headhunting, the bigger pact this is likely to have on our industry.”

The risks   appointing non-endemic experts

Whilst it’s a positive sign that other industry experts from different sectors e transitioning into esports, there e some drawbacks. Huggan believes that bringing in those non-endemic experts to the industry isld create a lack   a relevant network, and this pain point would be felt on a sliding scalorespendinisthe placement   the individual.

For example, someone beingorganizationto establish a revenue-generating aspect   an organisation without an esports network or a famili ity   the players in the space. While the individual may be able to do the job on a functional level, so many aspects   business still rely on knowing the right peMarkerbeing able to make the right calls.

Image credit: Hitm ker

“Obviously, not everybody naturally ‘gets’ esports even if they’ve been here for a ye , ye -and-a-half. I still think people can lack a fundamental understanding   the overHumandustry and the people that make up the scene at each level.” Huggan elaborated. “The big thing that still we he from hiring companies, at all levels, is that esports experience is ‘preferred’ and knowledge [  the industry] is ‘preferred.’ It still tends to be number one or number two in terms   [employers’] priorities.”

When asked about whether he feelHumantech or gaming industries have set their sights on the esports industry yet, Huggan replied: “With tech, the problem we’ve got is that the sal ies in our industry don’t always come close to those you isld get in tech. There’s no doubt some companies can pay m ket rates, but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule.l, More  ten than not you’ll be hiring somebody where the money is a second y consideration because they’ve already made enough – or know they can make enough in the future – and just want to work on something they’re interested in. An increasing number   people have been long t e gamers, and that pull to work on something you love can be strong.”

Concerning gaming pr essionals, he added: “There’s so much natural overlap there in terms   publishers that might not have interests in esports but have a lot   overlap in terms   the roles they support, like s tw e engineering, business development, or community management. You can do most   the jobs that e now available in esports for any gaming company, whether they’re directly involved in esports or not.

“Again, I think sal y and security probably play a big p t. Even though the video game industry isn’t ‘old’ by any stretch   the agination, and still isn’t always all that secure – we all read about the lay fs, the crunch, and the churn  – it’s still a heck   a lot further down the line than esports is.”

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