By Cristina García (*)

Human Resources, cost or investment?

Cristina Garcia has a strong track record in developing business for service companies. As a headhunter she has supported the growth of companies in various industries, and she is currently specialized in the gaming sector. It is responsible for Spain and Latin America in Pentasia, a leading company dedicated to the search and selection of professionals in the Gambling industry, with international presence.

United Kingdom 
| 10/03/2014

Recently, London hosted one of the most significant events in the industry, ICE. The attendance this year was seven percent up on the previous year. Around 24,000 professionals involved in the gaming industry attended the show to see the latest trends, products, channels and markets. It's good news to know that the industry is still one of the healthiest and with an upbeat growth forecast.

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Take, as an example, some of the latest figures from one of the most mature markets, the UK: from April 2013 to March 2013, the UK gambling industry generated £ 6.3 billion, an increase of £ 0.44 billion on the year before.  The offline business still represents the largest market in the industry with a 51 percent share of revenue, followed by casino (15 percent) and online business (13 percent). Keep in mind, however, that most British remote users are from outside the United Kingdom. To generate this income the British gaming industry employs over 100,000 professionals.

At a global level, it is expected that bets made on mobiles and tablets can reach 62,000 billion annually worldwide by 2018, a ‘six-digit-rise’ compared with the 10,000 million wagered globally in 2013.
In addition to confirming that it is an industry with great potential for development, on reviewing activity in more mature markets such as UK’s one realizes that fears have yet to materialise concerning the ‘cannibalization’ of different marketing channels (online, offline, mobile ...), which has been a constant worry for the industry, especially in discussing market regulation.

On the contrary, beyond trying to exploit synergies between different channels, there is still significant investment in technological development to cater for different customer groups, which is healthy both for professionals and the market itself.

Speaking of investment, it is striking that there is still no consensus on whether HR represents a cost or an investment?

While there is no statistically clear evidence that investing in your team, incorporating the best talent and implementing appropriate retention strategies significantly increases the income of a company, we keep hearing of reviews in which human resources are seen as a cost instead of a long-term investment. Indeed, depending on which of these views a company takes, internal HR policy will vary greatly.

In our efforts to find the best professionals to suit a given company’s requirements, as well as needing to adapt to the culture of the company’s particular internal procedures , the challenges we face include: finding professionals with a solid background in emerging markets, salary negotiations based on supply and demand for various roles , inflation in some countries , customizing our services to fit the reality of each country (e.g. legal restrictions - not all countries permit you to ask the same type of questions to candidates etc), taking steps to avoid the negative connotation that sometimes goes along with the gaming industry, and attracting the right talent.

I am aware that hiring an external headhunting service also represents an investment.

Typically , the majority of the requests we receive relate to the following scenarios: HR is required to devote more time to the company’s business and anticipate solutions to problems,  confidentiality issues relating to the search for candidates, the role requires a very specific skill or concrete knowledge of the industry, there are a limited number of candidates and / or they are difficult to find, the customer thinks that the position is essential for the core business of the company and its goals ,  the client company is losing money because the position is vacant , i.e. it is a matter of urgency.

Other less common reasons are: to convey a sense of commitment to candidates on behalf of the clients, seek out references, preventing us from headhunting staff of a their own firm, optimizing time and resources, market research related to the recruitment, impartial advice, etc. .

Steve Jobs said: “It makes no sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people to tell us what to do. "

In an ideal scenario, we aspire to be an "intelligent” partner to our customers and be confident that people want to invest in companies to optimize savings.

Cristina García for Yogonet.com