Tessa Bousfield posted an articleVancouver Island’s smaller talent pool pushing some developers to recruit from outside video game... see more
Source: Business in Vancouver
Author: Tyler Orton
Victoria video gamers grapple with HR challenges amid growth
Vancouver Island’s smaller talent pool pushing some developers to recruit from outside video game sector
It’s been nine years since three University of Victoria (UVic) grads launched their first video game aimed at Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) users.
Viking Clan was monetized almost instantly and managed to gain 250,000 players within weeks of its launch, and by the end of its first year on the market, Kano/Apps CEO Tim Teh said the Victoria-based company was profitable after generating $1 million in revenue from the game.
“We try to create games that are built around communities that last for a really long time,” said Teh, who met his co-founders on their first day at UVic.
Kano/App’s latest game, Free Rider HD, is the fifth game the team has developed for iOS after expanding beyond Facebook games. The company recently moved into its second office after growing from the initial UVic trio to 25 developers.
Despite Kano/Apps’ significant growth, Vancouver Island-based video game developers still face talent recruitment challenges.
There are 5,500 full-time employees at 128 companies in B.C.’s video game industry, according to a 2015 Entertainment Software Association of Canada report.
Vancouver Island accounts for “roughly” 250 of the province’s developers, according to Eric Jordan, a DigiBC board member who also serves as CEO of Victoria-based Codename Entertainment.
The talent pool is significantly smaller, which makes recruitment from within the industry tricky.
But Jordan said the broader tech industry has usurped tourism as Victoria’s main economic driver.
BC Stats’ 2016 profile of the B.C. tech sector estimated the tech industry accounts for 20,000 jobs on Vancouver Island.
“Certainly there’s a love of video games in the broader tech community, so we can recruit people out of the broader tech industry,” said Jordan, whose company just released Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons & Dragons-themed game.
Codename Entertainment CEO Eric Jordan, left, says his company is recruiting from Vancouver Island’s broader tech industry | Submitted
Kano/Apps has been using the same tactic of recruiting from the broader tech industry already living on Vancouver Island.
“The rising cost of Vancouver definitely helps in terms of trying to drive talent Island-side,” Teh said, adding Kano/Apps also recently recruited a game designer from India.
Meanwhile, Jordan said flattening distribution channels – app stores, for example – has made it easier to develop and release games into the market anywhere in the world.
“And so that then combined with, ‘So if I don’t have to be in Vancouver, well, where would I like to be?’ You have studios in Victoria, of course, but then you’ve got some really interesting stuff happening up-Island, too.”
Jordan added that Vancouver Island developers like Cloudhead Games are in locations “that make Victoria look astronomically large.”
As for future growth, Jordan said gaming is acting as a “natural bridge” between the public at large and the tech sector.
“And the tech sector’s really growing so much here in Victoria, it’s been a real boon for video game companies.”
Tessa Bousfield posted an articleRingPartner, a digital marketing company, requires employees to work in the office from 10am-3pm... see more
Victoria tech company hopes to entice new talent with five-hour work days
A Victoria technology company has switched to five-hour work days in an effort to attract new employees.
A boom in the tech industry has meant that companies have had to offer more than a unique workplace and cutting edge perks to draw in potential new talent.
RingPartner, a digital marketing company, requires employees to work in the office from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with any remaining work to be done where and when they choose.
According to Katie Hoffman, the risk manager for the company, the shorter hours and later start time make work the least hectic part of her day, as the mother of four children between the ages of one and seven.
“(Before) I had two minutes to get dressed, grab my lunch if I remembered it and then I would get to work and brush my teeth,” Hoffman told CTV Vancouver.
Hoffman also said core work hours have been like a “gift” and something others have showed an interest in.
Not only is RingPartner attracting new talent, but core work hours have shown their value in improved results, according to the CEO, Mike Williams.
“It’s really about the value and the results that they can drive rather than the time that you put into the office,” said Williams.
The boom in the industry is in part due to larger companies such as Amazon and Microsoft moving into the province, but also an increase in demand for tech workers in nearly every industry.
According to the B.C. Tech Association, companies will have to get even more creative, as they estimate by 2021 that there could be close to 30,000 unfilled positions.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Bhinder Sajan