Ryan Littlefield is a Director at a relatively new and small start-up, eSportsForce.net – a dedicated platform to facilitate employment in esports.
It’s safe to say that recruitment in esports can often be slightly trickier than for a normal role, as skill-set and passion doesn’t always align. We spoke to Ryan about the growth of esports and the job market at the moment.
ESI: Hi Ryan. Thanks very much for your time. Having had a look at your site, there’s already loads of jobs that have been posted. Just how big is the recruitment market in esports these days?
It’s big. There are already so many organisations that we can work with and more and more keep cropping up with more roles within the esports industry which is, quite simply, great for all of us.
You only have to take a look at the Blizzard announcement regarding the Overwatch League to see the size and growth there. Off the top of my head, the League will create 30-40 new jobs within the realm which simply put – need to be filled. For us, work
ing with clients over a whole range of things is massive. We have been and continue to work hard to provide both our existing and new clients with the knowledge that we can fill the roles that they have open.
ESI: As a small firm, does the global nature of esports present a challenge?
One of the many great things about the esports industry is that everyone is very tech-savvy and open minded. Meetings are not all orientated around face-to-face meetings whereas other industries may still demand them. The industry as a whole has very much adapted to “being connected” but not necessarily being on the same island, so to speak.
I think for us it’s not really a problem as we can trade and support clients globally. Our recruitment team have worked with international clients for many a year and it’s never been a problem.
ESI: So what’s the ultimate aim for eSportsForce?
For us, it’s about capitalising on this void that is in the esports industry. Previously when we looked at 2014, spend per head of an esports enthusiast was about $2 a year, and the industry was worth about $80m. The growth year-on-year is astronomical and the projections for 2019 are pretty scary. If you compare it to traditional sports, the spend per head will be reaching that of sports such as Basketball and Baseball eventually.
ESI: Do you find that there’s a skill gap with a lot of candidates? Do you have people apply that lack professional skills but have the passion for games and vice-versa?
The main thing now is that clients want people with specialist knowledge in esports. It’s not about finding a “Social Media Manager” who knows Twitter and Facebook inside out, but it’s finding someone with those skills and also a passion for esports. That’s what differentiates this from run of the mill recruitment.
“They don’t just want a professional, they want a professional who knows their esports inside out.”
There’s two different problems I would say. The first is people who have the skillset and love esports but are too afraid to join a company that is esports based. There’s still uncertainty amongst the minds of many who don’t see esports organisations or careers as long-term feasibility.
The other problem is the challenges surrounding people that are gamers and don’t necessarily have the skill-set necessary. We’re seeing large amounts of traffic due to the demographic of the esports audience that don’t necessarily have the professional skills and are uploading a C.V. from a purely gaming perspective. It’s our job to filter through the riff-raff and sort it for our clients.
ESI: We’re seeing more non-endemic brands entering the esports space – almost on a daily basis now. Are you facilitating recruitment for them?
That’s a tough question because it’s a matter of what you perceive esports as. For us, it’s about working with clients that work within the esports industry and contribute to esports. It’s not necessarily about filling esports specific roles such as an on-stage video editor at a big event, but the people behind the scenes that contribute and keep the industry moving forward.