Gamers with talent

Lockdown offers a new talent pool for employers seeking to bridge skills gap.

Research from ManpowerGroup suggests the surge of gaming during lockdown has put significantly more soft skills into the UK labour market. The business suggests 48 per cent of British gamers would thrive in a hands-on workplace and employers could turn to this resource to meet their skills shortages.

In February last year, the UK was experiencing the worst talent shortage in over ten years, with 23 per cent of employers struggling to fill roles. In the latest ONS labour market report, vacancies are starting to creep back up towards pre-pandemic levels, which means there are more gaps in the talent market. However, ManpowerGroup suggest filling these roles is no longer just about experience, hard skills or proximity to a workplace, it’s about soft skills and the ability to learn and develop into a role. This, they say, opens the door to gamers as the next big untapped and growing resource.

ManpowerGroup analysed more than 11,000 games across 13 genres –from action adventure, role-playing to music and indie – identifying the top soft skills developed in each gaming category and then mapped gaming skills to work skills. For example, a gamer who plays games like Call of Duty or Fortnite cultivates soft skills that a warehouse packer requires, such as critical thinking, spatial awareness and problem-solving.

Jason Greaves, brand leader, Manpower UK says: “It’s not just the labour market that’s been shocked in the last year, we’ve also had a sharp uptick in personal time, which has led to many swapping commuting for computer gaming. And this is across the entire population, regardless of age, gender or background. Gaming is on the rise. The good news is, all the time spent in the virtual world of Fortnite, Minecraft or Animal Crossing wasn’t in vain for the UK workforce. In fact, workers waiting out the pandemic have been developing many of the skills required for today’s jobs and the roles of the future.”

Greaves goes on: “Before the health crisis in the UK we were experiencing historic talent shortages, and as we prepare to return to offices those skill gaps remain; there might be more people looking for work but that doesn’t mean they have the skills that are in demand right now.

“What we do know is that skills like teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving are needed now more than ever; and these skills are developed through video games.”

Greaves argues workers are not aware of the skills they’ve been developing through gaming. Similarly, employers need to be open-minded and remember that new skills can come from anywhere.

Manpower Group’s proprietary online Gaming Skills Translator tool allows candidates to input the specific games they play, their experience and skill level, and the amount of time they spend gaming. The tool then translates that into workplace skills they can add to CVs and discuss in interviews and ultimately help connect to potential job matches. In the UK, over 2,750 respondents took the online Gaming Skills Translator, and the strongest personality trait to emerge from British gamers was ‘Realistic,’ with almost half (48 per cent) of respondents identifying with this trait. This indicates that these candidates would prefer to work in a more hands-on environment with real-world materials and machinery, over a traditional people orientated workplace.

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