IKEA are looking for a CPO

Kira, aged 7, tries out some of the toys available in store at IKEA Tottenham.  Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Chief Play Officer of course. Dream job? Certainly for almost everyone at Toyology Towers but sadly the Swedes are specifically searching for a 4-12 year old. The rest of the words are virtually verbatim from the press release from earlier, you might say that’s a little indolent of us, but it is Friday and we’re doing an online eggnog masterclass and have to prep.

Matt Alexander/PA Wire
  • To encourage play, IKEA UK & Ireland is hiring a young Chief Play Officer to test new toys before they launch
  • New research shows that per year, children are spending an average of 254 hours less on play than their parents did at their age
  • What’s more, almost three fifths (59%) are playing less now than they did before the coronavirus pandemic, with three quarters (74%) of parents noticing a change in their child’s mood  

As part of its ongoing mission to encourage play and creativity in the home, IKEA is on the lookout for a Chief Play Officer to join its ranks. Posting the job description on LinkedIn today, the Swedish retailer says the role is strictly open to children aged 4-12 only. No adults allowed.

Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Whilst the position is certainly a dream come true for many, it’s not all fun and games as with great power comes great responsibility! For one whole year, the successful candidate will be in charge of testing new toys before they launch in IKEA stores across the UK and Ireland.

Toys that have launched recently include the new BYGGLEK collection in collaboration with LEGO® that provides fun, functional and playful storage solutions for kids and adults alike, and the JÄTTELIK range, which blurs the lines between fantasy and reality with dinosaur-themed soft toys and bedroom accessories.

The news comes as research reveals children are spending an average of 254 hours less playing each year than their parents did at the same age. Despite most parents (70%) agreeing that play is very important to their kids’ development, unfortunately the pressures of daily life seem to be getting in the way, with 86% wishing that they had more time to spend playing with their children.

What’s more, it seems the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on children’s attitudes towards play, with almost three fifths (59%) of kids playing less now than they did before the coronavirus pandemic. Almost three quarters (74%) of parents say they’ve noticed a change in their child’s mood, with 28% saying they seem less playful.

IKEA’s national charity partner is Barnardo’s, the UK’s leading children’s charity supporting vulnerable children in the UK and Ireland. Most recently, IKEA released its sixth annual SAGOSKATT collection – a range of soft toys designed by children, for children, selected through an international drawing competition – with all proceeds going to Barnardo’s. 

Thomas Parker, Children’s Business Leader at UK & IE at IKEA says: “Play is an essential part of everyday life and a basic human right – it allows children to tap into their creativity, relieve stress and spend quality time with friends and family. Alongside the benefits of helping a child to grow and learn, play offers endless fun for all the family, and brings bursts of joy and energy to the home.

“When it comes to play, IKEA believes the home is the most important playground. Space and money should never be a barrier, which is why we offer a vast range of affordable games and activities.

“These allow children to use their imagination through role play, physical activity and creativity, wherever they may be. The creation of the Chief Play Officer role puts the focus back on play, and gives the power of creation to those who really know their stuff.” 

For parents reading this thinking they could be living with the right candidate, keep reading :

Job Specification

Do your kids love play and adventure? Do they spend hours turning everyday objects into playthings? Have they transformed your sheets and chairs into magical castles and dens or your mattress into a trampoline?

Well, at IKEA UK & Ireland we think it’s incredibly important to encourage play, which is why we’re searching for our very first Chief Play Officer.

The successful candidate will be responsible for testing IKEA’s new toys in 2021 before they go on sale in the UK and Ireland, making sure they’re fun for other children to play with.

Role Summary

  • Chief Play Officer
  • Part-time role: Testing new products whenever there’s a new launch
  • Salary: All tested toys will be yours to keep
  • Based at: Home

What We’re Looking For

  • A child passionate about toys who enjoys play
  • Must be aged between 4-12 years-old
  • Strictly no grown-up applicants
  • Creativity is key: the successful candidate will have a vivid imagination and enjoy creating things

Next Steps

  • Candidates should submit their application to ikeachiefplayofficer@hopeandglorypr.com
  • Applications can take the form of an email, video or anything else – be as creative as you want, and have fun with it!
  • Applications are open now until 4th January 2021
  • The role will last until 31st December 2021

The full job specification can be found on LinkedIn, here.

About Peter Jenkinson

Toyologist Pete Jenkinson regularly writes about toys in national newspapers like The Sun and The Mail. This super-dad has an unmatched passion and dedication for trying and testing the latest, coolest and most interesting offerings from the world of toys.

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