Despite the almost daily diet of employment doom and gloom dished up by the media, the phenomenal recent growth in the online gaming and betting sector means that, unlike most other sectors of employment, there is still very much a war for talent and nowhere is this more evident than in the online affiliate marketing arena .
The regulatory framework is changing and with more and more countries having legalised online gambling - and the number of internet users around the world continuing to grow, the sector has an ever expanding global customer base. Only recently Italy for example reported that online gambling revenues between January and April had increased by over 10% when compared with the same period last year.
A quick look at the Sunday Times Rich List
gives a good indication of just how successful this sector is - even in a downturn Founders of Party Poker
, husband and wife team Ruth Parasol and Russ De Leon, for example, are worth something around £700 Million while another husband and wife team, this time Peter and Denise Coates - the owners of Bet 365
have a mere £400 Million - up £100 million from the previous year.
With such explosive global growth, and the subsequent drive to secure growing market and revenue share, there has been a real surge in demand for affiliate marketing specialists who not only have the ability to manage an organisation’s affiliate programme, but who are also fluent in more than one language. Affiliate programmes are absolutely key to online gaming and betting organisations as they help each other to build revenue and profits but a programme is not enough without a team to manage the expectations and outcomes of what could be a very disparate and diverse group of people and organisations.
These are roles with very specific skill sets. Not only will affiliate managers need to report on channel activity but they also need to be constantly prospecting and closing new partnerships. The sector may be growing but it is also fiercely competitive and the affiliate marketing programme is absolutely key to business growth. Additionally, we are not just talking about a domestic market. The globalisation of the sector means that gaming organisations are spreading their focus far more internationally. Cross border marketing campaigns need cross border affiliate programmes and so these specialists need not only advanced foreign language skills but also an appreciation of different business cultures.
We are handling an increasing number of vacancies in the iGaming sector - and I’d say the requirement has increased at least five fold since this time last year. Most of the roles are London based with some in major gaming hubs such as Malta and Gibraltar and the main languages in demand tend to be Italian, French, Spanish, Hungarian and Flemish. Dutch is also in high demand but is notoriously difficult to source.
, Euro London's job board partner has also seen a significant increase in the iGaming sector. "We have been approached by more and more advertisers who are now specialising in the iGaming sector," states Associate Director Miranda Reid "and have found that where previously; the concentration was in the localisation/QA tester areas, we are now advertising a wider range of roles such as customer service reps, community managers and so on."
Increasingly, clients are looking for an eclectic mix of skills which will include at least two languages (one of which will usually be English as many of the roles are London based). Additionally candidates will typically need to be steeped in online marketing knowledge and have a good working knowledge of the gaming and betting sector - whether that be poker; sports or other casino products. They will also need affiliate marketing knowledge and the skills to not only manage existing programmes but also to develop new ones and measure the success of each. Not stopping there they will also probably need experience of specific internet software products such as Dreamweaver.
However, these people are not easy to find. First, the experience needed is often so specific that the only way to source the talent required is to target ‘passive candidates’ i.e. those who may not necessarily be looking for a move - but who may consider moving should the opportunity arise. Consequently it’s important for employers to remember that they are ‘selling’ as well as ‘buying’ as often the best candidates will need to be tempted. Salary levels, because of the shortage of good people are obviously bucking the economic trend. Affiliate marketers with 1-2 years experience could be looking at £30K + while more senior candidates can command up to £50K. However, it is important to appreciate that money isn’t the only motivator and it is worth employers partnering with a recruiter who knows both the industry - and the candidates. This way the employer can be briefed on what it is that will really motivate the candidate, ‘press the right buttons’ and tempt someone to join.
Secondly, in the UK, a mix of marketing, online expertise and language ability is very difficult to achieve - and that may mean casting the net outside domestic borders - or targeting foreign nationals in the UK. It’s a sad but true fact that there is a dearth of UK nationals who speak a foreign language fluently, and certainly less than foreign nationals who speak English fluently mainly because UK nationals tend only to speak another language if they have chosen to study it. But if you take a landlocked country like Luxembourg for example, you will find individuals who will speak three or four languages including English - it’s just part of their culture.
With the betting and online gaming sector continuing to evolve and the regulatory framework opening up the sector to more countries all the time, we are likely to see even further international growth. Sourcing the best multilingual marketing talent is consequently likely to be the key differentiator in terms of securing future competitive advantage in this multi billion pound sector.