68% of UK game studios in crisis of talent shortage

The UK games industry is facing notable workforce challenges, with TIGA’s (The Independent Game Developers’ Association) latest report, the TIGA Skills Report 2023, revealing that 68% of game studios currently need help to fill essential vacancies. The findings shed light on the impact of skills shortages within the sector, indicating that 59% of companies feel their growth is significantly hindered due to difficulties in recruiting skilled professionals.

Breaking down the data, the report highlights that programming roles have been the most affected by skills shortages over the past year, with 24% of game development businesses finding it challenging to secure suitable candidates. Following closely are art and design positions, where 22% of companies faced recruitment difficulties.

The repercussions of these skills shortages are evident, with 59% of companies reporting hindered growth and development delays. Moreover, 64% of respondents indicated an increased reliance on outsourcing work, and 73% had to redistribute additional workloads to existing staff members.

Despite the challenges in recruiting fresh talent, the report underscores the industry’s commitment to nurturing existing talent. Approximately 41% of surveyed companies provide on-the-job training, while 28% offer formal courses, though these may not necessarily result in official qualifications.

Interestingly, the majority of new hires in the games industry are sourced from within the sector itself, with companies commonly engaging in “poaching” practices to acquire skilled staff. In contrast, only 21% of hires are recent graduates, and a minimal 0.5% come from apprenticeship programs, underscoring limited entry points for individuals seeking to gain experience in the industry.

“The UK video games industry invests in training, but skill shortages persist and can hinder business growth and production. At the very least the Government should follow the principle of the Hippocratic Oath and refrain from doing harm.” said the author of the Skills Shortage Report TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson. “In practice, this means that the Government should maintain funding for industry relevant BTECs and retain the SOL. We need to ensure that UK game studios can hire from a skilled and diverse recruitment pool in order to maintain our position as a leader on the global games development stage.”

The skills shortage in the UK video games industry is having serious implications for games development studios and other associated? businesses.” offered Jason Kingsley, TIGA chairman, and Rebellion creative director. ” We call on the Government to support us in addressing these issues to ensure the continued growth of individual games companies and the UK games industry in general.”

Another recent study pointed out that currently, 51.9% of video game development staff in the UK are employed by companies owned by overseas entities, surpassing those working for local firms. 

Written by Gizem Yılmaz


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