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Several sectors benchmarking against igaming salaries, skills

Duarte Amado, head of recruitment at Betting Connections and Spot On Connections, says candidates are referenced by default in a small country like Malta.

Duarte Amado, head of recruitment at Betting Connections and Spot On Connections, says candidates are referenced by default in a small country like Malta.

Remuneration packages and skill set requirements in a range of sectors are increasingly being benchmarked against the trends in igaming as employers vie for the most valuable talent on the market, according to Betting Connections head of recruitment Duarte Amado.

We have four start-ups to fully staff this year

It is one of the reasons Sliema-based Betting Connections, one of the largest local igaming recruiters, has set up a sister company called Spot On Connections to service the non-igaming industries.

“As an igaming recruiter, we were increasingly being approached by companies outside igaming for candidates to fill legal, technology and finance posts, besides a range of support positions, and we saw a clear opportunity,” Mr Amado told The Sunday Times. “There are many transferable skills – Spot On Connections is already servicing clients in pharmaceuticals, financial services and banking, shipping, and aviation, and the client portfolio also includes technology and software houses.”

The team of six at Spot On Connections, which is shortly to move out of Betting Connections’ Falcon House premises on High Street to Tower Road, will share only some resources with the older company.

Both are part of the Connections Group, which also incorporates a small Malta-based maritime recruiter servicing the shipping and oil and gas sectors, and a collection of token presences in key European locations.

The group was set up by Portuguese-born Mr Amado and his business partner Frederico Formigal four years ago as the two fused their knowledge in igaming and recruitment.

Mr Amado, who moved to Malta from Dublin where he worked for 10 years, explained that the island will continue to see growth in the igaming sector, which, in its entirety, employs more than 6,000 people.

“The bigger companies are getting bigger, mainly through acquisitions,” he said. “They bring their teams together, so the increase in operational staff is minimal. They do, however, tend to grow their marketing teams and mid-level positions.

“We have four start-ups to fully staff this year. The established operators continue to move their operations or specific business units to Malta and the demand for local operational staff is healthy.”

Mr Amado believes there are not many players online aged 45 and older, but two generations which were raised in the internet era have yet to come on stream, so the player base will continue to grow over the next 15 years.

Malta’s authorities have done a sterling job in marketing the island to the international igaming community, although local operators hope to see the Lotteries and Gaming Authority and Malta Enterprise work together more closely in the future.

Mr Amado shares the sentiment of the local igaming community which believes Malta has other marketable attributes besides the tax regime and the weather – one of its greatest advantages is the lifestyle to be enjoyed in one of the safest countries in the EU, and the reasonable cost of living.

Low-cost carriers continue to improve connectivity, and many operators were delighted with the recently announced routes to the Nordic region. Direct connections to Portugal and Switzerland are still unavailable, however.

In terms of staffing, the country’s small size is an advantage.

“From an operational point of view, people are referenced by default,” Mr Amado added. “It allows for staff retention – a CV showing lots of movement around the Malta circuit is frowned upon.

“The ‘bad’ non-Maltese in operational grades do not stay here as they quickly burn their bridges, sometimes because they lack the patience. We are satisfied with the quality of Maltese candidates and we have also relocated some to the UK, Spain, and Sweden.

“However, the industry needs to collaborate far better with the colleges – we are sorely lacking PHP and Java developers. Many candidates are only .NET qualified.”

About 300 people, including many legal professionals, are flying to London from Malta this week to participate in the ICE Totally Gaming trade event. Staged at the ExCel in east London between Tuesday and Thursday, it is among the most highly anticipated events on the igaming calendar.

Mr Amado will be one of three executives from Betting Connections to fly out, although he admits participation is not absolutely necessary. He can easily network from his offices in Sliema.

“Most of the wider igaming community is within a five-kilometre radius from my office. I practically live a conference!”

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