Skills shortage forces gaming companies to poach workers

There were 781 vacancies in remote gaming companies by the end of last year, a situation many operators blame on the skills shortage in the labour market

The gaming industry has become the third largest sector in the economy
The gaming industry has become the third largest sector in the economy

Poaching of talent from other companies is practised by over 60% of gaming companies as the industry grapples with unfilled positions.

The figure comes from a survey carried out by the Malta Gaming Authority in the first quarter of 2018 among licensed remote gaming operators. The results were released today.

The survey found that by the end of 2017 there were 781 unfilled positions with gaming companies.

Vacancies were reported at an operational level in game development and operation.

According to the survey results, 57% of respondents considered the lack of appropriate skills, in terms of either work experience or qualifications, as the main cause of unfilled vacancies.

The lack of new workers with gaming-specific skills meant that firms have resorted to recruiting experienced talent from other companies in Malta. Over 60% of companies 

recruited workers already employed by other firms in the online sector (37%) or in other industries (24%). 

The recruitment of workers immediately after the completion of their formal education was reported by 15% of firms, confirming the potentially stronger role which could be played by educational institutions.

To try and bridge the skills gap, 55% of gaming companies organised in-house training for their employees or invested in overseas training (21%).

The MGA said that over the past months, several policy efforts were made to address the skills gap. The European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM) was launched in November 2017 following an agreement signed between the MGA and MCAST.

The initiative aims to increase the talent pool in the gaming industry and create more long term careers for both Maltese and foreign students, the MGA said.

Educational programmes through EGIM started being offered as from October 2018.

The gaming industry in Malta generated just over €1.1 billion in terms of Gross Value Added last year, accounting for over 11% of the economy total.

This represented an increase of 10% over 2016 when gaming activities directly contributed one-eighth of the economic value added of the country. The gaming industry has become the third-largest sector in the economy.

The number of licensed companies operating from Malta stood at 294 as at the end of 2017, generating 6,673 full-time equivalent jobs.

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