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Contracting in the games industry: The next step for you?

Posted by: Simon Pittam

Many of us have dreamed of becoming our own boss at some stage in our career, and the transition from permanent worker to freelance contractor is an exciting journey to make.

Our Contracts Manager, Simon Pittam, spoke to us about moving into the contracting world of the games industry. The industry is increasingly seeking out contractors to help fill skills gaps and meet deadlines ahead of new releases.

The games industry is very project-driven and more companies than ever are coming to us and asking for freelancers to cover specific work for periods where they’re short-staffed or to help meet an urgent milestone. They typically want to add a skilled resource for a specific period of time - which can be anything from a day to up to 12 months - without adding them to the permanent headcount.

Getting started

To break through in the contracting world, you need some experience, skills, a strong CV and an even better portfolio. Whether you’re an artist, animator or a coder, you need to be able to showcase your best work to clients in order to stand out and show what you can bring.

There’s nothing to hold you back from becoming a contractor in games. If you’re already experienced and working in a permanent position then you can certainly move into a contracting role where there is market demand. It’s all about finding the right opportunity, so shop around for something that really appeals.

What to expect

Contractors are informed of the start and end date of a project before taking on the work but we do find some companies extend contracts beyond this. As with any job application your agency with speak to you about your skills, what you are looking for and give you information about the role and studio before submitting your CV to the client. Don’t be surprised if after a couple of Skype interviews you are asked to start on Monday! The turnaround from application to starting can be very fast.

Let’s talk about money

The pay rate is typically daily for contractors as opposed to an annual salary so you’ll want to do some maths around what you need. Also bear in mind as a contractor you won’t get paid for holidays, so some of this higher rate is to reflect this.

As you’re not on the payroll of the employer directly you can choose to operate as your own limited company or be paid via an umbrella company. Here at Amiqus we can talk to you about how this works.

The work you do is submitted via a timesheet on a weekly basis and the hours and days soon add up.

What makes contracting so attractive?

From a client perspective, contractors are brilliant for creating a flexible team, meeting short-term hiring needs, staying agile as a business and of course experienced contractors can often come in and hit the ground running with minimal training. For candidates, contracting is a great career-option for many within the industry offering huge flexibility in roles and allowing you to pick and choose the projects you work on. It can give you exposure to a large number of companies and games and allows you to really take charge of where your career heads. It’s also brilliant for picking up new skills across different platforms or emerging tech such as virtual reality. If you’re looking for variety, contracting could be a perfect fit.

How Amiqus Can Help

Amiqus began supplying contractors to the games industry back in 2007 and since then we’ve seen significant growth in this business model. We work closely with studios to help them appreciate the benefits of hiring contractors, and the processes we have in place to make things as simple as possible for everyone involved from interview to getting paid.

We’re on-hand for advice throughout your contract too, getting to know many of our contractors well and placing them time after time into new opportunities throughout their careers.

We’re always looking for talented contractors to place in some of the world’s leading games companies. If you’re ready to make the move or simply want to speak more about the opportunities available, get in touch with us here.

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