Industry trends and a wave of new UK indies bring down average yearly salary
AVERAGE ANNUAL GLOBAL GAMES DEV SALARY: £34,183
ANALYSIS & METHODOLOGY
This year, our Salary Survey shows a tiny decline in the average UK games industry yearly wage.
Last year we calculated the number at exactly £34,457.
The fall seems to come from some depressions in the UK job market, where most of our respondents come from.
When we looked at just the UK number, the average salary sinks to £29,358, a difference of over £4,000.
Consolidation as experienced professionals moved roles, and a raft of new, but much smaller indie studios appeared, has pulled this number down.
There are also significant wider trends in the games industry at the moment which have impacted the jobs market, with a bit less retail staff at all levels, from shop floor to head office, less mid-level execs in traditional games publishing.
And that new wave of UK indie developers, will inevitably report lower salaries. Some contributors to the survey say that a number of discreet redundancies and job changes in the industry have, combined with other consolidation, contributed to a lower number of managers and senior staff at some levels.
Some information on our survey’s methodology: throughout December and January we asked readers of Develop and sister magazine MCV to fill out an online survey. 763 people globally took part (fewer than last year), but 510 were from the UK (a similar number to 2012).
We’ve calculated the result above on these pages as a median average, rather than a mean average. A mean average would otherwise distort the numbers by including a group of very senior contributors who have kindly taken part to help form data in higher tiers.
With those well-paid execs included, the average jumps up to £36,523, but that's also down on last year's tally of £37,407.
Take into account all the answers from games industry personnel from around the world and the median average is £32,008 – that’s also a decline on last year (£34,263), but not the lowest global figure we have calculated (2011’s, which was £28,932).
So, in total, despite the clear declines in average salaries for games developers, the games development sector's overall wage trends are at present ahead of the total industry standard.
WHO EARNS WHAT?
AVERAGE GLOBAL SALARY:
Lead Artist: £36,875 p.a.
Artist: £31,685 p.a.
Junior Artist: £18,125 p.a.
Lead Programmer: £49,052 p.a.
Programmer: £35,027 p.a.
Junior Programmer: £19,722 p.a.
Lead Audio: £54,000 p.a.
Entry Level Audio Role: £25,000 p.a.
Lead Producer: £51,029 p.a.
Producer: £31,048 p.a.
Senior Producer (External/Publisher-employed):£46,500 p.a.
Lead Designer: £38,676 p.a.
Designer: £26,563 p.a.
Junior Designer: £19,167 p.a.
Senior Writer: Not enough data
Junior Writer: Not enough data
Junior/Smaller Studio Biz Dev: £29,166 p.a.
Senior Biz Dev: £40,000 p.a.
Creative Director: £57,500 p.a.
MD/Studio Head (Junior): £49,772 p.a.
MD/Studio Head (Senior/8 years+ experience): £81,250 p.a.
AVERAGE UK SALARY:
Lead Artist: £37,500 p.a.
Artist: £30,000 p.a.
Junior Artist: £18,928 p.a.
Lead Programmer: £46,538 p.a.
Programmer: £30,961 p.a.
Junior Programmer: £23,000 p.a.
Lead Audio: £47,500 p.a.
Entry Level Audio Role: £24,166 p.a.
Lead Producer: £47,500 p.a.
Producer: £32,500 p.a.
Senior Producer (External/Publisher-employed): £47,500 p.a.
Lead Designer: £43,653 p.a.
Designer: £26,602 p.a.
Junior Designer: £18,928 p.a.
Senior Writer: £35,833 p.a.
Junior Writer: £18,750 p.a.
Junior/Smaller Studio Biz Dev: £27,500 p.a.
Senior Biz Dev: Not enough data
Creative Director: £51,676 p.a.
MD/Studio Head (Junior): £34,166 p.a.
MD/Studio Head (Senior/8 years+ experience): £60,500 p.a.
UK REGIONAL BREAKDOWN
Scotland: £29,625 p.a.
North East: £25,096 p.a.
North West: £28,688 p.a.
Yorkshire/Humberside: £26,136 p.a.
West Midlands: £29,955 p.a.
East Midlands: £29,792 p.a.
East England: £26,999 p.a.
South West: £23,182 p.a.
South East: £33,603 p.a.
London: £37,222 p.a.
UK GAMES TRADE
For comparison, our sister-publication MCV also published the results for salaries in non-development roles, which you can view below.
Senior Management: £62,500 p.a.
Marketing Director: £60,000 p.a.
Marketing Manager £39,667 p.a.
Product Manager: £32,500 p.a.
Sales Manager: £38,333 p.a.
Senior External Development: £53,000 p.a.
Store Manager: £19,424 p.a.
Shop Floor Staff: £13,425 p.a.
Junior Head Office Role: £28,929 p.a.
Senior Management Office Role: £46,875
Editor: £27,954 p.a.
Section Editor: £24,167 p.a.
Staff Writer: £18,000 p.a.
Distrubtion - Junior: £29,583 p.a.
Distribution - Senior: £44,642 p.a.
Creative Services: £29,063 p.a.
Basic QA & Testing Role: £13,636 p.a.
QA & Testing Exec: £20,000 p.a.
Senior PR Exec: £37,188 p.a.
PR Executive: £25,833 p.a.
Junior PR: £17,785 p.a.