Great Time to Embark on a Career in the Games Industry as New Data Shows Salaries Increasing and Job Opportunities Set to Grow

PR Newswire

LONDON, May 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK video game industry has announced the key findings of the 2013/14 Games Software Developers' Salary survey, carried out in association with Aon Hewitt. The survey shows that for the first time in five years, games industry salaries rose more than the UK average, by 3.4 per cent compared to 3.1 per cent (Aon Hewitt's Global Salary Increase Survey (SIS)). With Games Tax Relief finally coming into force in April 2014 and offering studios up to a 25 per cent reduction in core development costs, which can include salaries, the industry is set for growth. TIGA's research suggests that over 4,660 highly skilled jobs will be created in the industry over the next five years.

A good time to study for a career in the games industry  

Research by the Complete University Guide says graduate starting salaries in professional posts fell by 11 per cent in real terms, which comes as a particularly heavy blow given the rising levels of debt many students are being saddled with. Given these recent reports that university leavers have seen their starting salaries plummet over the past five years, the news that the games industry salaries are rising faster than the overall UK market will come as encouraging news to students seeking a career in the UK games business. With the recent approval of games tax relief in the UK, which TIGA predicts will create and protect 4,661 jobs whilst also stimulating £188 million in new investment over the next five years, those students now deciding what degree to take would do well to look at those relating to video game development.

Driving regional growth

It has been established that game development companies based in regional tech clusters, benefit from having a richer talent pool on their doorstep and the ability to share ideas and learning. The 2014 survey demonstrated that games software development in the UK is a great example of a sector that can drive regional growth and offer relatively well paid roles outside London when compared to Office for National Statistics (ONS) regional pay differentials. While game software development salaries in London appear to be broadly on a par with the survey's national average, employees in the West Midlands (including Birmingham) can receive up to 21% higher wages on average. Other standout regions were South East England (including places such as Brighton), which pays 17% above the survey average, and North West England (including Liverpool), which pays 11% above the survey average.

This can be compared with ONS figures which suggest that the West Midlands is 7% below the national salary average, while the North West is 6% below the national average. Evidently, in some regions working in the game development sector is a highly attractive option and since the recession there has been a general recognition that the UK economy would benefit from stronger regional growth, so it is encouraging to see the games industry contributing in this way.

Programming sees biggest rise

In terms of job functions, the largest median base salary increase was in technical development and programming, which saw a rise of 4.2%, followed by Quality Assurance at 3.5%. The lowest increase of all was design, which saw a rise of 2.8%.  However, it should be noted that design had the largest rise of all job functions in the previous year (3.5%), so this is likely to be the effect of design salaries balancing out.

Employee turnover down

TIGA and Aon Hewitt's data also reveals that employee turnover in the games industry has declined. The survey revealed a drop from 13.5% in 2013 to 12.8% in 2014. This compares to a UK average employee turnover rate, which many commentators have suggested is at about 14%.

Dr. Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, stated:

"This is a great time to be in the UK video game industry. Salaries in the games industry are now rising faster than the national average. Job opportunities in the games industry are set to grow and investment in the sector is set to increase. TIGA research suggests that at least 4,660 highly skilled jobs will be generated and £188 million in investment will be triggered over the next five years thanks to the introduction of Games Tax Relief, a measure that TIGA campaigned for over the last seven years."

Steve Munday, senior reward consultant at Aon Hewitt, added:

"With five years of data now embedded into Aon Hewitt's databases, the Games Software Developers' Salary Survey without doubt provides an established, comprehensive and well trusted source of market data.

"Our 2013/14 survey again provides a detailed picture of this industry, and going forward Aon Hewitt is in a unique position to combine this with our expertise in all areas of reward and work with TIGA and other organisations to draw out insights and long term trends across the sector, not only in terms of pay and benefits but also in terms of policy design and employee demographics." 

Notes to editors 

Survey methodology

This is the fifth Aon Hewitt Games Software Developers' Salary survey. It has been conducted in association with TIGA.

This year there are 10 organisations participating in the survey, providing data for 1,298 incumbents (1,549 in 2012). In addition, we also have 348 incumbents matched to business support functions (347 in 2012), across all 10 organisations. Thus, the survey covered more than 10% of the approximately 9,000 employees in the UK game development sector.

All data is effective as of 1 October 2013.

Much effort and emphasis has been placed on ensuring the quality of the data in the 2013/14 survey. Position matching meetings were held in September 2013, when required, to discuss the matching approach and to ensure understanding of the data collection materials. In order to be able to report on as many positions as possible and to provide equal value to all participants from the survey findings, Aon Hewitt emphasised that all efforts should be made to provide as many positions as possible.

About Aon Hewitt

Aon Hewitt empowers organisations and individuals to secure a better future through innovative talent, retirement and health solutions. We advise, design and execute a wide range of solutions that enable clients to cultivate talent to drive organisational and personal performance and growth, navigate risk while providing new levels of financial security, and redefine health solutions for greater choice, affordability and wellness.  Aon Hewitt is the global leader in human resource solutions, with over 30,000 professionals in 90 countries serving more than 20,000 clients worldwide.  For more information on Aon Hewitt, please visit

About TIGA 

TIGA is the trade association representing the UK video game industry. We help developers and digital publishers build successful studios, network with the right people, save money and access professional business advice.

We also have traditional publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership. TIGA is 90% funded by independent UK businesses. 80% of our board members are developers and/or from UK owned businesses, and 50% of our board are UK business owners themselves. Since 2010, TIGA has won 16 business awards.

TIGA focuses on three sets of activities:

  • Political representation
  • Media representation
  • Business services

This enhances the competitiveness of our members by providing benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities. It also means our members' voices are heard in the corridors of power and positively represented in national, broadcast and UK video game trade media.

Get in touch: 

Tel: +44(0)845-468-2330

For further information, you can also contact:  

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO on: +44(0)7875-939-643, or email:
Drew Field, TIGA Communications Director on: +44(0)7720-643-344, or email


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