Womenize! – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Natalie Concannon, Director, Head of Design & Production at Datascope, UK’s leading boutique recruitment agency for the Games, Online and Mobile technology sectors. Natalie speaks about the impact the Covid-19 pandemic had and still has on the UK games industry recruiting market. Read more about Natalie in this interview:
Hi Natalie! Do you have any advice for women, who’d like to move into a leadership role in Design & Production career paths?

Personally, I think the biggest help is finding a mentor, I don’t really think anyone is born to lead, it’s a skillset like any other aspect of a job. You can learn and one of the best ways is to look at managers or leaders who you have enjoyed working for and emulate them.

In games, networking is still a really important tool in getting promoted, having some help navigating that is so important. I believe the word networking scares people, but really it’s just about connecting with others and speaking to individuals in the industry. Overall, I find games to be a very friendly industry, I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.

What parts of your job have proven most challenging during the past five years?

The 1st lockdown due to the global pandemic was probably the hardest part, none of us really knew what was going on or how things would turn out. It made everything really difficult, especially to make decisions and plan things when we were all living in uncertainty. It was rather sudden, with a lot of us having to make quick changes without being prepared at the time. Luckily we work in an industry which did well during lockdown and a small silver lining was how many people enjoyed and discovered new games. 

We were also fortunate in having sorted the technology, workflow and management challenges in advance, we have had Datascope team members who have worked from home in the past and as we already work closely with our clients and candidates who are based in many different locations, the transition was a little easier for our team.

When I was made a director, I suddenly had loads of responsibility piled onto me and it made all my decisions feel a little more important. Getting used to the additional pressure did take a small while and I’m really happy to have moved into a senior position where I can be more strategic and think about the big picture.

How did the Covid-19 situation influence the hiring market in the UK recently?

The biggest change is a stronger desire for remote/flexible working. A large number of people do not want to work in an office and value their time and lifestyle at home, but not all employers are open to fully remote roles and they think that the collaboration you get in person is very difficult to replace. Things still don’t feel very settled, so it will be interesting to see how things work out longer term, and how the industry will change, because there are pros and cons to either way of working. I personally very much prefer working in our Datascope office in Piccadilly every day! 😊

Thanks for this interview, Natalie!

Natalie’s links: LinkedInTwitterDatascope

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Sophie Brugmann