For anyone who has been around esports for a few years, Hitmarker is a familiar name. The company has been connecting talent with businesses in the gaming and esports sectors. Esports Grizzly's correspondents were part of the industry back in 2018 when Hitmarker began publishing some insightful reports, properly analyzing esports jobs concentration and p.
It's this insight and consistency, and dedication to creating a more open industry, which brings us to Hitmarker's team with a few questions that will hopefully prove an interesting read.
Hitmarker has been on top of the job-hunting market for years now, and we believe this would prove an interesting read to anyone looking to know more about finding a professional realization in esports or gaming.
Today we speak with Hitmarker Business Development Coordinator Kellen Derry who has offered insight into college esports, how the pandemic has affected esports and the state of affairs in the related job industry.
Q: We believe Hitmarker has had a huge impact on people who are passionate about esports to connect with opportunities in the industry. What's the state of the esports job market today?
A: There’s no doubt that the impact of COVID has been immense on many industries, and esports definitely hasn’t been immune. Before the pandemic started last year, esports listings were a small number of our total–we also post general video game industry jobs–but they were steadily growing month-on-month and year-on-year. Once the shutdowns hit, and big organizations that relied on sponsorship money they received while playing at LAN events started being negatively affected, the number of esports listings started to decline. The wider game market was initially impacted as well but not to the same degree as esports, and has since bounced back to record levels.
As far as applicants are concerned, there is still a huge amount of interest in working in the esports and gaming sectors. To paint a picture, Hitmarker has been used almost two million times by applicants seeking jobs, so we know that people are very interested in working in esports and gaming!
Q: There is a surging interest in college esports with more and more universities launching their college programs month after month. Do you think there are enough opportunities for these students to find employment in the industry after graduation?
A: Right now, the answer is an unfortunate “no”. Getting a degree in a more traditional field of study and getting involved in your school’s extracurricular esports activities to build a network appear to be the more stable paths forward, for the time being at least.
When I think of universities in the US providing the best opportunities for their students to succeed post-graduation, it's tough to look past what The University of California Irvine and The University of Utah are doing. UCI has developed a great Esports Management Program that helps students prepare for the business side of things from home. It’s a continuing education certificate rather than a full program and can be undertaken from anywhere in the world.
I believe Utah has the best EAE program in the US and gives its students real-world experiences by having them develop their own games. They also partner with some major publishers to offer their students internships during the summer.
Q: What is the most in-demand esports job listing presently?
A: We see a lot of huge companies listing jobs on Hitmarker, but we also have many smaller startups who are trying to generate revenue. For that reason, the most commonly listed jobs in esports are in Marketing, Business Development (which can sometimes just be a less offensive name for sales) and Social Media. As companies grow and begin to stabilize, we usually see them offer more creative roles in content and design.
In the gaming sector, Software Engineering and Game Development specialists are by far the most sought-after people on Hitmarker. Roughly, 20% of the more than 13,000 jobs listed on Hitmarker right now are in these two plus Game Design.
Q: Can you offer some career advice to people who want to work in the industry but not necessarily in the capacity of a professional player?
A: I think the easiest way to find work in esports is by building up your own personal brand. We have people at Hitmarker who do casting for League of Legends, run their own teams, and stream, and who have created a reputation for themselves outside of their day jobs.
Other people have built up large followings on social media where they’re recognized names. Putting in the work to build yourself up as a value-contributor can open a ton of doors for you. When a company you love posts a job that’s a good fit for you, you’ll already have some credibility in the space and some accomplishments to point to.
Q: Is there an entry-level rigidity when it comes to esports? We know some professions can be a little harsh in terms of required experience from newcomers.
A: True paid entry-level jobs are tough to come by. Often, startups are hiring for the first time and don’t really know what constitutes an entry-level job versus a higher-experience one.
We do something at Hitmarker that not all startup organizations seem to agree with, as we feel the need to protect our users first and foremost. All listings are checked by us, manually (yes, all 13,000+) to make sure that they meet our definitions of entry, junior, intermediate, and senior levels. We don't feel that it's in the applicant's best interest to be seeing jobs that require 8+ years of experience for a Junior-level role and salary. It just doesn't make sense in terms of industry standards, so we standardize things on our end.
Q: Do you feel most esports jobs are still concentrated in fairly few locations? Do you see this changing in future?
A: A huge percentage of jobs listed on Hitmarker are office-based and in the US. There are 4,701 of those right now, with over half of them in California (2,680). In esports specifically, more than 46% of all jobs are remote. Keep in mind that Hitmarker really only focuses on English-language jobs at the moment, though.
There’s little doubt in our minds that we’re missing a lot of opportunity in Asia, and that as Asian economies grow, more and more jobs will continue to be created in esports and gaming in that region of the world. That’s why we’ll be launching platforms aimed at the Asian market and have recently hired two people with language skills and in-depth knowledge of Japan and China.