Degrees of success: The benefits of graduate recruitment

Degrees of success: The benefits of graduate recruitment

By Sue Stather

February 6th 2014 at 10:58AM

Jagex graduate recruitment specialist Sue Stather offers advice on how studios can benefit from graduate employment schemes

There’s no doubt that internships and industrial placements provide students with an employability-boosting leg-up into the games industry, but it’s also the studios themselves that have plenty to gain by investing in students and graduate talent.

For many students, the eager need to ‘get a foot in the door’ is still very real, and we receive many approaches from juniors looking for any kind of experience we can offer. However, while there are students queuing up to make their break into games, studios shouldn’t be complacent.

Computer science and games graduates are highly sought-after and studios must react by opening their toolbox for ways to attract, retain and develop the next generation of smart, tech-savvy students eager to make their way in games.

Jagex has always embraced students for industrial placements, but for 2014 we have introduced a greater range of placements and a suite of summer internships that reflect the scope of teams working under our roof. These include art, sound design, tech, QA, business intelligence and community management. One key area of focus for Jagex is populating our tech teams with talented computer science students and graduates via our tech internships and software development industrial placements in particular.

When planning a student-focused recruitment campaign it’s vital to have a solid understanding of the inner workings of university cycles: when students are most engaged; when placements are sought after; when events are scheduled; and when exam periods dominate any free time. At Jagex this is championed by me as part of the four-strong proactive recruitment team. Employability and industry awareness has never been a hotter topic at universities – at all levels from undergraduate to MBA – and making connections with key academic staff and careers teams is crucial to aid student recruitment.

When planning a student-focused recruitment campaign it’s vital to have a solid understanding of the inner workings of university cycles.

Working with promising undergraduates is incredibly rewarding and exciting for us, but we’ve also seen success in engaging with MBA-level projects, including the CVP research project with the Judge Business School at Cambridge University. There is also a growing interest in games research at doctoral level, with schemes such as the CDE initiative run by Bath and Bournemouth University, and the IGGI championed by York University. These schemes offer studios great access to PhD-level researchers interested in exploring games under the microscope.

Not only smart and tech-savvy, today’s students are clued-up to career development and progression. Our learning and development team is working alongside our managers to implement training and inductions plans for our junior starters, whether that’s plans for learning new technologies, work shadowing or bite-size sessions for professional development. At Jagex, several talented employees joined us through our player support industrial placement scheme a few years ago, and now hold senior roles within the company.

Top tips on graduate recruitment

• Do not discount the value graduates can bring to your studio
• Investigate ways to attract, retain and develop new talent
• Understand the inner workings of university cycles
• Form good connections with key academic staff at universities
• Design and implement robust training and induction plans for junior starters