Gaming becomes one of the UK’s top employers

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

Employment in gaming has grown 20% during the pandemic, with jobs in the sector expected to increase threefold within the next 5 years.

According to the most recent figures, gaming now employs 47,000 people either directly or indirectly and that number is growing, particularly following a 218% jump in physical game sales during the lockdown.

The data comes from a global recruiter Robert Walters and data provider Vacancysoft in their new publication: Gaming: Perfect Play for Growth.

“With the average contribution per employee of the Gaming sector sitting at £80,000 – double the national average and the most productive of all the creative industries in the nation – there is no industry quite like Gaming that is able to evidence its high potential in helping to uphold the UK economy as we navigate out of the pandemic,” said Tom Chambers, Senior Manager Technology at Robert Walters.

While much of the employment is centred on London (28%), it’s much less so than compared to film industry (around 50%). Newcastle and Manchester are two of the 8 key towns and cities where the games industry generates over £60m in GVA into the local economy.

% of Gaming vacancies by region (2020)
Greater London 27.91%
S E England 22.54%
N E England 17.71%
West Midlands 15.74%
Yorkshire and the Humber 5.90%
East of England 4.83%
North West of England 3.40%
East Midlands 1.07%
South West England 0.89%
   

There are also 23 areas that are home to more than 20 local game companies and these micro-businesses of fewer than 10 staff which represent almost 14% of the industry total - employing 4,000 full-time roles and generating £339m in GVA.

“Within the UK, the gaming sector is unlike most in that it is relatively location neutral. With the industry capitalising on regional resource, games companies are experiencing success on a global level,” added James Perry, Associate Director of Technology (Regions) at Robert Walters.

“Whilst other sectors are just waking up to the exceptional tech infrastructure and talent available in The Midlands and The North – games companies have been strategic in setting up their offices, ensuring that recruitment can happen nationwide and en masse.”

The report also shows that the sector is maturing, with gaming companies seeking to recruit more staff across sales and marketing, to better monetise their products. In 2019, there was a 25% increase in marketing vacancies compared to the previous year.

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