In an effort to understand the relationship between online gaming behavior and career interests, researchers from Surrey collaborated with Game Academy Ltd. to study the gaming habits of 16,033 participants. The research aimed to explore how the hobby could aid in future career planning and professional training for video game players. Prior to this study, little was known about how people’s gaming choices related to their career aspirations.
The study participants utilized Steam, a digital distribution service and storefront for video games, and played various games on the platform. Researchers examined the 800 games that were played the most and only included participants for whom they had information on gender and occupation.
Researchers discovered that IT professionals and engineers played puzzle-platform games, which possibly enhance their spatial skills. People in managerial roles showed an interest in action roleplay games where organizational and planning skills are involved and engineering professionals were associated with strategy games which often require problem-solving and spatial skills. There were apparent gender differences too – females preferred playing single-player games, whereas males preferred playing shooting games.
Dr. Anna-Stiina Wallinheimo, lead author of the study, Cognitive Psychologist, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Surrey’s Centre for Translation Studies (CTS) said: “In recruitment processes, the best candidates may be missed because organizations do not consider the soft skills that have been gained through non-work activities (for example, online gaming). As a result of our research, we believe applicants’ online gaming experiences should be highlighted because these acquired soft skills can really help to develop their all-around strengths for the job at hand.”
Dr. Anesa Hosein, co-author of the study and Associate Professor in Higher Education at the University of Surrey said: “By understanding to what extent career interests are reflected in game playing, we may be able to demonstrate more clearly how these align with career interests and encourage employers to understand the value of the soft skills associated with gaming. Our research could also inspire game developers to work on honing these soft skills more closely in their design. Furthermore, places of learning, such as universities, could allow students to reflect and incorporate gaming as part of their career development and consider how gaming can be included in the curriculum to enhance alignment between students’ learning, career aspirations, and extra-curricular gaming interests.”
Reference: “How Online Gaming Could Enhance Your Career Prospects” by Anna-Stiina Wallinheimo, Anesa Hosein, David Barrie, Andrey Chernyavskiy, Irina Agafonova and Peter Williams, 11 November 2022, SIMULATION.