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Ajit George

@ajitgeorgeSB

Oct 3, 2019

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With @Big Bad Con around the corner, I've had a lot of folks ask about the PoC Meet & Greet: what it's about, what we hope to accomplish, why it's needed, etc. So let me try and explain. A thread. #BBC19

Researchers have been studying networking (connecting with others for social or business relationships) for awhile now and most data has it that 70% to 85% of all jobs are acquired through networking/networks.

There is more data that states up to 80% of all jobs are not even listed publicly: they are filled internally or via networking.

Wow! So if you just do the normal job search, apply via the usual processes of sending in a resume to an openly listed job, the odds are really against you--most of the jobs aren't even listed, and most of the jobs are acquired through relationship building.

That makes sense. We tend to prefer & trust hiring people we know personally. It's less risky for an organization, particularly a small one which has to invest resources in the job search, then training, etc. And if it doesn't work out? Lost resources and restarting the process.

So we turn to the people in our social circles. Those we're friends with, or those who they know. We establish a rapport with someone else, get a sense of who they are and how they operate, and it lowers barriers for entry for jobs. This is human nature.

Now let's look at some other stats. Other studies show that the average white American has 91 times the amount of white friends than they do black friends, while black people have 10 times the amount of black friends than they do white friends.

The data also shows that 75 percent of white people have "entirely white social networks without any minority presence." Other ethnic groups seem to do better with racially mixed social networks.

This creates lots of problems, which we're seeing today in America. Empathy gaps and lack of understanding of minority points of view by white people. "Us" vs "Them" mindsets. And more. The more being jobs.

Now, I don't think there have been studies done on the gaming community, but I've been to a zillion Cons and I've looked at the employee rosters of a ton of gaming companies. And in most cases, both have extremely high ratios of white people to non-white / pocs. Often ALL white.

Cons, which are public, still are MUCH MUCH WORSE in their demographics of non-white people to white people than the general population. Usually just a few percent of attendees are non-white (economic barriers are often the big hurdle).

So if gaming companies are primarily white, and so are Cons, where a lot of networking and relationship building happens, and most jobs (both freelance and full-time) are acquired via networking, that leads to the question: How do pocs get jobs in games? The answer: They don't.

It's an accidental, but systemic gate-keeping mechanism that is self-reinforcing: PoCs are more likely to know other PoCs who could be hired for a job, with less of them in positions in the industry and / or able to attend cons/professional gaming events, fewer PoCs are hired.

And that's where @Big Bad Con's PoC Meet & Greet comes in. Our goal is to help break down these barriers, while facilitating relationships between those who genuinely would work together, but aren't interacting with each other professionally or socially.

The stats all show that more diverse companies do better on a ton of metrics: creativity, innovation, better decision-making, healthier workplace, improved economic results, etc.

@Big Bad Con is a good example. It has seen an INCREDIBLE 28% growth in a single year and I am sure @Sean Nittner would acknowledge this is due in large part to the Con's authentic efforts to increase PoC attendance and support PoCs there. It's paid off for the Con in many ways.

We know these biases are often not intentional, but they exist all the same and unless they are directly addressed, they will persist. We know more diverse hiring is a win-win for all. And we hope #BBC19's PoC Meet & Greet is a catalyst for change--but only the first step!

Oh, in case it wasn't clear: @Big Bad Con's PoC Meet & Greet is designed to break down these barriers by creating a space for PoC and non-PoC gaming professionals to directly interact with the intention of building relationships they can take forward.

Maybe jobs will be acquired on the spot. Or a business deal. More likely it's part of developing relationships that will help gaming companies become more diverse & help PoCs get access to jobs they aren't considered for b/c they have no prior relationship with the person hiring.

And when I say "professional", I mean anyone who is working in games, or wants to work in games--even if it's absolutely new to you. You're new to the profession, but you've just put your hat in the ring and you've got skills to offer.

My hope is that the PoC Meet & Greet will be replicated in other forms by other cons and companies. This is an exciting moment, but it is also just part of a much larger dialogue that is happening and initiatives that need to continue to happen.

Here is a description of the event: bigbadcon.com/events/poc-mee…

I know @EricVulgaris and others asked for links to articles. Here are a few I had quickly accessible, but we read more deeply as we prepped the Meet & Greet: theatlantic.com/national/archi… businessinsider.com/at-least-70-of… forbes.com/sites/jacquely…

InterviewSuccessFormula.com uncovered facts and figures about the job search process that you probably didn't know.

forbes.com/sites/jacquely…

7 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Your Job Search

Ajit George

@ajitgeorgeSB

Director of Operations for @shantibhavan. Featured in @Netflix's Daughters of Destiny. // Creator & Project Lead for D&D's #RadiantCitadel & #Ravenloft writer.

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