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Marina Zapolskaya – Improving the iGaming Workforce

Marina Zapolskaya, the general manager at Talentgrator, kindly took the time to answer our questions for the next installment in our interview series. She discusses the recruitment challenges facing the gambling industry, the ways in which companies can do more to help people enter the gambling workforce, and how the team at Talentgrator are able to help.

Hello, and thank you for doing this interview with casinoreviews.net!

Please can you explain to us a bit about where Talentgrator came from and what it is you do?

Talentgrator is a recruiting service, which is looking for specialists in gambling. In 2019 I took part in several conferences as a speaker and talked about the problems of recruiting and retaining specialists in the industry. Thereat I have realized how interesting this topic for the companies is and how few HR specialists know how to operate here. Different companies had been contacting me with a request for hiring people. That is the way how the idea of setting up this business was born.

Please can you explain the benefits for both employers and potential employees of using your services?

Our goal is to meet the needs of both employers and job seekers. On the one hand, we help companies see what kind of specialists they need and employ them within such a narrow niche. Also, we have a base of candidates that speeds up recruiting particular specialists who are familiar with the industry. For a client, cooperation with us is an opportunity to find a new team member quickly and confidentially. We do not give unfounded promises: we do not take a vacancy into work if we can't fill it for specific reasons. But usually, we understand that it's possible to live up to the client's expectations :)

Talentgrator is looking for the best talents in the gambling industry

On the other hand, we are looking for the best employers for the job seekers from our base. We also provide a complete service for preparing for an interview that can be very beneficial for those who have never worked in gambling but want to make the best impression on the employer. We work only with clients who meet the market requirements and treat the candidates honestly.

Have you noticed any particular areas in the gambling industry where there is a real lack of applicants?

Many industries feel a shortage of candidates, and the gambling market, due to its active growth, is especially experiencing it. Moreover, the niche has its specifics - not all applicants want to work in gambling.

Due to the opening of new markets and the launching of new services, businesses need professional managers. That's not easy to find a good leader with relevant experience and convince him to change a company.

There is a shortage of all languages' programmers: JavaScript, Node JS, but this is typical not only for gambling, of course. The industry also experiences a lack of mathematicians and analysts. There is a shortage of designers, artists, and animators with experience in casinos and slots.

Have there been any major shifts or changes in the industry's approach towards recruiting? Are diversity, equity, and inclusion factors considered by more companies in the industry?

The industry's recruiting has yet to take significant steps towards diversity. The topic of discrimination is very provocative, but it's noticeable mainly in the CIS and Eastern Europe companies. The most popular ones are age discrimination (too young / too old) and gender discrimination (a woman with children "will not be involved enough;" without children - "she will get pregnant and leave the company").

Employers still set too stringent requirements for gambling experience and thus cut off good candidates who could bring fresh insights and business ideas from other spheres.

What is the potential of the gambling industry for applicants, and what advice would you give someone interested in venturing into the iGaming industry for the first time?

The gambling industry is the world's largest consumer industry. It provides opportunities for fast career growth and working in different countries.

It is interesting for professionals who are tired of conservative sectors and looking for high-techs, dynamics, flexibility, and travel. For example, the leading industry events occur in fascinating places such as Malta, London, Macao, and Amsterdam, and companies send their best employees there for networking. Also, gambling has shown resilience during a pandemic. Most of the gambling companies didn't have any cuts and even needed to increase the number of employees.

If you are interested in working in a startup mode with an innovative spirit, gambling is an excellent opportunity.

There is a lot of potential in the gambling industry

Are there any mistakes that you think employers repeatedly make when searching for candidates? If so, what are they, and what advice would you give to employers?

As far as I see, the most common mistakes are stereotypical thinking of hiring managers, misunderstanding of business objectives, subjectivity where it is unacceptable.

Our top advice is to hire people, not resumes. Do not immediately deny candidates from other spheres. In related industries, you can find equally talented specialists with similar experience and expertise that will be fresh for your business.

Also, we would recommend hiring and training Junior specialists. Sometimes we hear, "not now, let this candidate come in a year," but the company doesn't understand that this person could join the industry and benefit the company this year. And also, this candidate will be more loyal and thankful for such an opportunity to learn! Create a favorable atmosphere for the growth of valuable specialists according to your requirements.

As a company heavily involved in employment trends, what is your take on the massive shift to work from home caused by the pandemic? Do you think it is sustainable and that it is something people will want to keep?

For sure, I would say remote work is no longer a benefit for employees but a new business opportunity. The pandemic has shown that it is unnecessary to go to the office every day to deliver results. For iGaming, by the way, the transition to working remotely did not come as a surprise. It has worked this way before. Even after the crisis goes down, more than half of the companies tend to continue working remotely. Many studies say that distance working even increased productivity. At the same time, interest in relocation and working migration grew because of remote work's omnipresence. The candidates realized that it's possible to work from any place in the world, and why not try to change the location in this case?

Remote work is a great business opportunity

Thank you once again, Marina. You have provided plenty of food for thought, both for those looking for employment within the gambling industry and employees struggling to find talent. It seems that there is a great deal that can be done and that Talentgrator is fulfilling a vital service for all.

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