Mobile devices have been one of the hottest topics of conversation in the recruitment and talent acquisition space over the past few years due to the increasing number of candidates using their smartphone or tablet for job-seeking activities. This evolving trend had employers rushing to catch up and optimize their process in order to improve their candidate experience for mobile users, which proved challenging for many.
Now there’s another trend on the rise that talent acquisition pros should keep an eye on -- the emergence of gaming and gaming devices as factors in the candidate journey. More people are spending time playing video games than ever before, and a growing number of candidates are using gaming consoles to view career sites, browse job postings, and even submit applications.
Want proof? Here’s what the data reveals.
Setting the Stage: COVID-19 & The Rise of Gaming
The increasing popularity of gaming and the rise of new devices for consuming media is nothing new. The online gaming landscape encompasses millions of homes and devices, and according to Comscore, the number of US households that have a gaming console has increased 31% year-over-year to reach 38 million as of this year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly played a role in accelerating the trend.
During the pandemic, in-home device usage surged in the United States as millions of Americans complied with stay-at-home orders. During the month of June 2020, 78 percent of data was consumed via media streaming devices (Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, Chromecast, etc.), smart TVs, and gaming consoles.
While it’s easy to understand the transition from traditional cable TV to digital streaming devices as a popular way to consume media, I found the increase in gaming and activity on gaming consoles particularly intriguing. Comscore reports a 19% increase in the average number of households gaming as of April 2020, and those who are gaming are also spending 17% more time on average using gaming devices than they were pre-pandemic.
Interestingly, mobile gaming engagement has remained flat, but gaming PCs and consoles have seen significant increases in both number of users and the average length of time those users have spent on their device.
What Does Gaming Have to Do With Recruitment Marketing?
Keep in mind that most gaming consoles can be used for more than just gaming. For example, you can influence a passive user with an ad while they are playing a game. This drives awareness of your employer brand and employment opportunities, which can stimulate the user’s interest in learning more.
Today's gaming consoles also allow users to access the internet with many of the same features and capabilities that would be available on a PC, such as visiting a URL, conducting a web browser search for your career site, or browsing listings on a job site. According to the Comscore study, over 50% of the internet users own at least one video game console, with many owning two or more. Online gaming represents an opportunity to advertise to a diverse and rapidly expanding audience.
What Does the Data Say?
While I knew that these gaming trends offered an important opportunity to reach new audiences with targeted advertising, they also had me wondering: ”Do people search and apply to jobs through gaming consoles?”
I was interested to see if data would validate the theory that gaming consoles are creating a quantifiable impact on the talent acquisition funnel. At Recruitics, we process over 3 billion job seeker events per day, so I was certain I would find an answer by leveraging our aggregated data. Upon review, I discovered measurable proof of an emerging trend that talent acquisition professionals would be wise to follow more closely.
According to Recruitics data from the past 12 months:
173,234 jobs were viewed via a gaming console. While this pales in comparison to job traffic from mobile devices and desktop computers, it proves there are in fact users viewing jobs via gaming consoles.
30,466 applications were completed on gaming consoles, so yes, people are actually applying to jobs on gaming consoles.
96% of all applicants were from non-sponsored media. This traffic is primarily organic, and you might be getting this traffic without even knowing it or trying to reach this audience.
18% average conversion rates from job view to apply - that’s actually pretty good considering it’s higher than the conversion rate on mobile devices for many companies.
Comparing the Data by Console:
Xbox and Playstation are clearly the dominating duo in job activity, but the conversion rates are higher on Xbox. After digging a little deeper into the activity by console, I found that the results showed diminishing conversion rates on older model Playstations, which negatively impacted the overall conversion rate for candidates using a Playstation.
Compared to mobile and desktop devices, gaming consoles seem to account for an insignificant percentage of job seeker activity overall. However, the trend shows significant growth, which is likely to continue as a younger demographic more familiar with using these devices ages into the workforce.
What types of jobs are candidates on gaming consoles applying too?
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the only people using gaming devices as part of their job search are kids or slackers. Many gamers are adult professionals, and job postings for highly skilled roles in technology, engineering, programming, and mathematics were more likely to receive above-average application activity from gaming consoles. This presents an opportunity to reach highly coveted STEM talent with recruitment marketing messaging that is currently being overlooked.
Of those who submitted job applications on gaming devices, 44% applied for jobs such as engineering, healthcare technology, computer and data science, business and financial operations. The other 56% applied to jobs such in delivery, office administration, warehouse work, and manufacturing. This is a diverse audience, but with the right targeting, you can reach the talent that best suits your employment opportunities.
Preparing For the Future
The rise of gaming and gaming devices as part of the candidate journey should not be too surprising if you look at the evolution of entertainment and information access when it comes to the devices we use. Technological innovation did not and will not stop at mobile devices. It's time to extend our view when considering the different devices that are emerging as part of the candidate journey.
Like it or not, audiences can access your recruitment marketing messages and enter your hiring funnel directly from their gaming devices. Talent acquisition professionals need to accept and prepare for the reality that a gaming console can be used in the candidate journey just like any other device.
Is your career site, ATS, or job application process prepared to operate in a reality where a candidate’s journey can take place via gaming console? If not, you may want to plan ahead and start exploring ways that you can expand optimization to include a wider variety of devices.