As we all know, the last year introduced a new world of lockdowns, social distancing, and remote working. And everyone can see how it has changed our lives.
But now we’re faced with even more change. A “new normal,” as more people are vaccinated and consider returning to how life used to be. Now, the question is, how much will our world resemble what it did before this all happened? Is remote working here to stay? And, significantly for the VFX industry, is relocating new hires going to be a thing of the past? Suddenly remote working gives studios the opportunity to recruit from halfway across the world.
What will VFX recruitment look like in the coming months?
Office vs home
Perhaps the biggest challenge is going to be how to get people back into the office. We’ve not had a long, expensive commute for over a year now, will people want to go back to that full-time? It’s also allowed for flexibility, which has long been lacking in the industry.
That’s not to say the office is obsolete. The VFX industry is a collaborative one. We want to be able to welcome clients into a studio space and get our teams together to brainstorm in a nurturing environment. Zoom calls are great – but they aren’t the same as having people come together in one room.
So, one massive change we’re likely to see is a more fluid way of working. Companies will have to consider how they cater to both crowds, and this might mean shaking up our idea of what an office is. We think that we’ll see a blended working week, with hotdesking picking up, more communal areas for people to mingle and share ideas. A more open approach might be just what’s needed to get people excited about coming in again. In short, we need something at the office that we can’t get at home.
Pulling from the same talent pool
In a similar vein, remote working will benefit studios when recruiting, as people don’t have to be geographically close to the office. They could be on the other side of the country, if not in a completely different one altogether.
So how will companies differentiate themselves from the crowd? They have to offer something more. And if we see a boom of freelance work, that’ll be even more important. We might see companies more open to listening to potential employee’s demands and offer more flexible options. Smaller studios might fare better as they can offer a more intimate environment that values all voices, one where everyone knows everyone else.
Something we’ve seen improve over the last year is the prioritisation of employee care. Since lockdown was tough on all of us, conversations about mental health and wellness are more common. That’s something we love to see.
Now workplaces have to continue putting people first, where everyone feels appreciated and a valued member of the team. It also means offering a more fluid way of working. The traditional 9 to 5 doesn’t work for everyone, so a smart company will offer flexible hours. It means people can fit their personal life around their work. Take an extra hour at lunch and make it back later. Go and pick your kids up from school. And if you need a mental health break, take it. We wouldn’t be surprised if that kind of corporate attitude becomes more common.
Working from home presented its own unique technical challenges. Not only did we have to up our game with video conferencing software, the industry had to make sure that staff could remote into their computers in the office via a VPN and remote desktop application.
To support remote working at REALTIME, we made several changes. We installed a 10 Gigabit internet connection in our two studios, invested in our GPU rendering capabilities, and worked hard to increase our security – as a result, we are well on our way to becoming TPN (trusted partner network) accredited.
So, what do VFX recruiters want?
If you’re looking to get into the VFX industry, or simply just want to move somewhere new, hopefully this gives you an idea of the shifting priorities. And while you have some say in how you work, they’ll still be looking for your best work. So, what do you need to show?
For us, it isn’t just about what looks good. That’s great – we love to see amazing work. But we’re focused on you. Don’t forget that you’re one person applying for the role, not the whole team. What did you, the individual, do? What can you point to, even a rock or a tree, that you can say is your work?
And what was your process? Some companies don’t want to see the entire working out, but there still needs to be a sense of where your ideas came from. How have you made your projects work? Why did you make the decisions you did? VFX is art, and every piece of art is made up of thousands of micro-decisions, so let that thought process speak for itself. It’s not just about high-quality work, but also high-quality thinking.
So here we are, about to enter the second half of 2021, and we’re not sure what the future holds. But something we do know is the VFX industry is changing. And we can’t wait to see where it goes.
REALTIME is always looking for bright minds to join our team. If you think you’re a good fit for our team, reach out to our recruitment team at firstname.lastname@example.org