A Letter From The First Year President of PEER

The Professional Electronic Entertainment Recruiters Professional Association

Welcome to you all --

The Entertainment Software Industry has evolved from what was pretty much a Wild West era, where game development was literally spawned by a few guys working out of their garage, to the sprawling multibillion dollar growth industry of today. Recruiting was hardly a viable profession in the early days. A handful of game developers all knew each other on a first name basis and few really believed they could turn their hobby into a viable profession. Today, recruiters do a brisk business trying to stay up with the needs of their clients and the growing ranks of experienced candidates turning to us for career advancement.

As the industry has grown, so have the labor problems. Compensation levels for key positions in publishing and development have skyrocketed over the past ten years alone. Despite the allure to make games for a living, the hours can run long and weekends for many are just another workday. Game developers arenít just a bunch of wide-eyed, caffeinated video game junkies anymore. They have families, mortgages and ironically most of them worry about the number of hours their own kids spend in front of video games instead of playing outside and studying for school. Their wives want them home for dinner and kids who have moms or dads working in the industry want to see them more than just a few hours in the evening every week. Itís getting more expensive for game companies to attract and hold people in the profession, to balance work with life and stay ahead of the rising costs of homes and medical insurance for their employees.

The rapid growth of this high tech industry is fueled by experienced professionals, who are in higher demand, yet because of the rising costs companies are having to be more discriminating on each hire. They need qualified people to fill a growing number of vacancies, yet they also canít afford to hire those who fail to meet ever tightening performance standards. Development costs that used to run in the hundreds of thousands can now run in the tens of millions. Human Resources departments are in the vise between demands from management for more qualified hires and the demands of employees who want more money for shorter hours and better benefits for their growing families.

Consequently, recruiting too has grown from a cottage industry to one that demands higher sophistication, industry knowledge and business acumen. Typical fees for placement have grown from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per hire, thus necessitating companies to allocate larger budgets for recruiting. Game company management eyeing those ballooning costs have pressured HR departments to invest in internal recruiters to rebalance their budgets and to reduce the rising cost of volume hiring. Meanwhile, the outside recruiting profession has also swelled their ranks.  Whereas there used to be a few veterans who have grown up with the industry, now new recruiters are coming in from other industries, transitioning from internal recruiting staffs and even breaking in from unrelated sales professions. The result has been increased competition and lowered standards. Thus, price cutting and lowered quality in recruiting has ensued.

Lowered quality and even unethical practice by some outside recruiters and discounting, along with the growing internal recruiting resource within HR departments, has created a perceived devaluation of our service. HR departments have responded by demanding higher warranties, longer payouts, reduced fees and escalating contingencies in recruiting contracts which are sprouting more legalese by the page. As a profession, we have been faced with the age old evolutionary conundrum. We either rise to meet the challenge or knuckle under and accept mediocrity Ė or worse.

Our response was the formation of PEER, the first association of professional recruiters in this industry. The purpose of PEER is to reaffirm the high ground for ethical standards, quality performance and as an alliance of those who lead the profession, to encourage others to either be accountable for their conduct and efficacy or to be re-categorized as those who will not. And further, leading by example to improve relations with employers through increased service facility that justifies the cost.

For members of PEER and those who want to join our ranks, the bar has always been performance, trust and relationship business in that order. New faces in HR departments and game company management need to frequently be reacquainted with professionalism by the leadership in outside recruiting and that leadership will be the members of PEER. If you are a recruiter reading this letter, we hope you will consider our pledge important enough for you to want to apply to join our ranks. If you are a potential client needing recruiting services, we hope you will be reassured that the member companies in PEER constitute the top tier recruiting professionals in the Entertainment Software Industry today.

As the PEER First President, I want you to know we are working hard to set the right example for recruiting companies to follow in this industry. I intend to do all I can personally to pass along those high standards to the next President voted into this position in years to follow. Thank you for your time and interest. We look forward to working with you in the near future.

Warmest regards,

David Musgrove
PEER First President

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