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Gaming is a booming, $149 billion global industry that’s grown rapidly since the onset of COVID-19. According to an article in the WSJ , some reasons include, “bringing back lapsed players, attracting newcomers and driving already heavy gamers to play more often.” Because of this rapid growth, gaming’s spend is projected to exceed 1.59 billion in 2020 – a 9.3% increase from the year before! As the world turns toward gaming as a means of entertainment and socialization, it’s no surprise that skilled talent in the industry is in high demand.

With the increased need for top-notch talent, we looked for ways to benefit the gaming industry and aspiring job-seekers. This year, TeamPeople partnered with the International Game Developers Association Foundation (IGDA-F) to diversify, support, and grow the gaming workforce. 

One Common Goal

As the gaming industry grows and evolves, organizations across the globe are taking matters into their own hands to foster change. The IGDA-F is a US-based public charity organization whose mission is to diversify and promote inclusion in the game development community. They believe that diversity of all kinds will lead to better and more successful products and companies, as well as happier and more successful game developers. Their annual programs support developers from around the world and reflect a broad international focus.

In response to COVID-19, the IGDA-F switched their annual, in-person GDC Scholarship programming to a virtual 2020 Grantee Online Program. Since May, we’ve been sponsoring the program alongside some of the world’s largest gaming brands, such as Xbox, Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, Iron Galaxy Studios, Zynga, and Audiokinetic. Our common goal is to provide people across backgrounds with the resources needed to position themselves within the industry and, ultimately, land video game-related jobs.

Building A Skilled & Diverse Gaming Workforce

It’s no secret that improvements surrounding diversity and inclusion are long overdue within media and entertainment. As it turns out, hiring a diverse team can benefit both companies and talent alike. For companies, hiring a  diverse group of employees can increase retention, boost productivity, and create an environment of mutual respect. For employees, diversity can increase workplace satisfaction, economic empowerment, and opportunity. Despite these benefits, 28% of developers say that studios don’t invest anything in staff inclusion and diversity issues . That’s why we stand with the IGDA-F in recognizing that it’s time for change and action.

One of the best ways to support this change is to provide underrepresented communities with the resources and skills needed to land gaming-related jobs. The IGDA-F’s 2020 Grantee Online Program helps individuals from around the world build gaming skills and learn from industry veterans/mentors. Since our mission at TeamPeople is to help talent pursue their passions and do what they love, we saw the IGDA-F’s program as the perfect opportunity to instate ourselves as a resource to the grantees.

As sponsors, we provide a support structure for diverse, early to mid-career game developers once they choose from three tailored skill trees: Leadership Skill TreeVideo Game Skill Tree, and Entrepreneurship Skill Tree. From there, we help them navigate in-person and virtual networking, the job search, interviewing, career development opportunities, and much more. Despite the nuances of each grantee’s background, areas for improvement, and the skill tree they pursue, these individuals are the next generation of gaming industry leaders. We’re thrilled to be a part of their career progression and see how they make a difference in the industry throughout their careers!

Creative Pursuits Podcast Meets Gaming

The ball doesn’t stop rolling with the 2020 Grantee Online Program. TeamPeople is also a sponsor of Creative Pursuits , the podcast that explores the intersection of art, communications, and technology. In August, the podcast set out to discuss gaming in a two-part series that we’re excited for the world to hear.

In the first episode titled Level Up: Diversity And Equity With Gaming Advocate Nika Nour , host Alex Crow interviews Executive Director of the IGDA-F, Nika Nour (@Nika ). She’s a diversity leader within the video game industry and oversees the IGDA-F’s 2020 Grantee Online Program. Nika’s mission is to advance inclusion efforts and open doors for minorities aspiring to get their foot in the gaming workforce. Throughout the episode, Nika shares her most profound experiences and insights as a female gamer and diversity advocate. She also discusses what it was like navigating grade school bullying as a young female gamer in the 90s, the 2008 economy, Capitol Hill, Gamergate , #MeToo, and recent reckonings with racism and sexism in the video game industry.

Listen in on the first episode of the two-part series featuring Nika Nour below, and stay tuned for part two of the series! For more insights and inspiring stories, be sure to follow Creative Pursuits on Twitter , Facebook , and Instagram .

Raising the Bar in Gaming

Nika’s story and the IGDA-F’s mission inspires us to continue raising the bar for diversity within the gaming workforce. Through programs like the 2020 Grantee Online Program and platforms such as Creative Pursuits, we can promote the next generation of aspiring game developers and amplify leaders like Nika.

Ready to develop your diverse and inclusive team of game developers and industry experts?  Let’s raise the bar together! TeamPeople is working at the intersection of creative and digital to be your strategic partner. We’ll work with you to design a solution that best fits your team and operation. We hire talent across backgrounds to provide our clients with fresh talent and unique perspectives. Check out our gaming capabilities and strike up the conversation here.

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