20 Feb 2019
Last week Activision Blizzard became the latest game studio to lay off hundreds of staff, despite the company recording record profits. The Video Games industry has always faced the horrendous prospects of large scale lay offs and the last 12 months have been no exception.
Before the news of the Activision Blizzard layoffs, over 1000 Game Developers had faced mass redundancies at companies including Telltale Games, Jam City, 6ft, CCP, Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency, Gazillion, Big Fish Games, Capcom Vancouver, Carbine Studios and Daybreak Games. We’ve also heard that Nitro Games have announced earlier today that they are looking to lay off half of their studio.
Layoffs in the Games Industry often happen once a project is finished, when a game is cancelled, if a title doesn’t hit the financial targets expected or when a financial reporting period is coming to an end.
This is always a difficult time for the industry, but one beacon of light is the way that the Games Industry comes together to support those in need.
GamesJobsDirect.com is keen to support and offer advice to anyone that is affected by lay offs in the industry, so we wanted to put together a guide to help anyone that might be affected. Treat it as a checklist if you need too.
Your mind is probably on overdrive and you are probably already thinking about next steps, but it vitally important that you listen to what the HR team have to say. Some of the info or advice that they offer up at this meeting is very important. Take notes where you can as you are likely to forget some info. Ask questions where you can. If you don’t hear something properly ask again.
This is a terrible day for the HR team, so remember that they are trying to help people through a difficult time, be courteous and respectful. They will try and inform you what happens next and may have some handouts to help you.
The HR team will likely be arranging a recruitment event for other game studios to try and sell their proposition to you.
We all do things in the heat of the moment that we regret. We may not agree with the decision but it’s in your best interest to keep everything calm and respectful. The industry is a small place and your choice of reaction could have an impact on your next move. Make sure you aren’t bad mouthing the studio on social media and try and be positive in the messages you’re sending out. Even better, stay off social media.
It sounds weird to say stay off social media but at the same time promote yourself, used correctly social media can also play a part in finding your next step. Update your Linkedin status and make yourself open to opportunities. Reach out to former colleagues to help spread the news that you are looking for a new game studio. Look for a hashtag promoting games jobs on twitter – we often use #gamejobs #gamesjobs #gamedevjobs.
Update your Resumé and your LinkedIn profile, see if there’s a list of displaced game studio staff going around and get yourself on that list.
Request LinkedIn recommendations from former colleagues and supervisors, the more people who’re saying good things about you and your work the better.
Websites like Artstation are perfect to show off your portfolio, use them to make your work easily accessible to potential employers.
Difficult one, but if you can and are allowed too, take copies or extracts of your work ready to showcase for your next job. This isn’t always easy as sometimes you won’t get to go back to your desk, or the project may still be unreleased. Work with your HR team to see what you can use to aid your search for a new position.
You may have been to industry events in the past such as GDC or Develop and met some interesting people, or you may have some banter with fellow game devs on LinkedIn or twitter. Don’t be afraid to reach out to these people for help in either landing a job at their company or to see if they have anything in mind at another studio which may be of interest.
Shameless plug, but sites like GamesJobsDirect.com have a very good system for both job listings and job alerts. Create your search and the site will email you jobs that match your criteria. This goes back to what we said in point 3, make sure your portfolio/demo reel and your CV are up to date so you can apply for a job straight away. Game studio recruiters and hiring managers want to fill their position as soon as they possibly can, so if you’re a good match they will want you to start as soon as you can, perfect right? So make sure you’re ready!
On GamesJobsDirect.com the services to candidates are free so why not use them.
You got this dude, keep calm, things will happen, but you need to try and keep a clear head where possible. You were working for a reason, you’re an asset, you are good at what you do. You had to have been to have got the job in the first place, this means you will be in need.
The calmer and more relaxed you feel, the better you will present yourself in interviews.
There are plenty of fantastic games industry recruitment agencies. In the UK we have Aardvark Swift, Skillsearch, OPM Response and Amiqus. In the United States Yoh and DAM are popular games staffing agencies and across the world there are plenty of recruiters that can help you find opportunities that aren’t as readily advertised. Their services are free to you and only cost the studio if you get the job.
The Job Centre in the UK can help provide monetary assistance to help with rent/or mortgage payments. They may not be able to help you find the right job, but it is worth checking what help you can get until you find your next gig.
Finally, if the right role isn’t available in the Games Industry then don’t be afraid to go outside the industry and return at a later date once the time is right. You can always go back.
If anyone you know has been made redundant and is looking to bounce back quickly, why not send them this page for a few helpful tips and get them to search our jobs database on the homepage www.gamesjobsdirect.com
Keep Calm and waka waka...