Skills shortage sweeps UK dev sector

Skills shortage sweeps UK dev sector

By Rob Crossley

October 19th 2010 at 10:41AM

Tiga calls Govt to scrap planned immigration cap as studios struggle to find new talent

The UK’s pool of talented game developers is visibly sinking, new data suggests, as industry association Tiga calls on Whitehall to abolish its proposed migrant worker cap.

New survey research from Tiga found that 39 per cent of UK game businesses “found it fairly or very difficult to fill vacancies in their organisation’s workforce during 2009”.

Programming, design and management positions were hardest vacancies to fill for developers that experienced skill shortages last year, Tiga said.

The new data comes as the UK faces a very real threat of a rapidly decreasing industry workforce, with foreign employment bodies habitually finding opportunities - such as trade shows – to tempt UK devs out of the country.

Tiga recently condemned the coalition government’s proposal to cap the number of non-EU immigrants arriving in the UK, and again has urged a rethink in light of falling the new data.

The Home Office said it will limit the number of non-EU immigrant workers to 24,100 - down around by five per cent - between now and April 2011.

Said Tiga CEO Richard Wilson: “UK game developers rely on highly creative, technical people with skills and qualifications in areas such as design, programming, artificial intelligence, animation, mathematics and physics. Such skilled people are not easy to find.

Wilson also has called in the Coalition to use bigger wage incentives to attract better teachers in schools, as well as highlight the video games industry as a career option at school.

Philip Oliver, the CEO of Blitz Studios and a Tiga board member, echoed Wilson’s claims.
 
“Many game developers invest time and money in workforce development and in education outreach programmes. The Government could help many small games businesses to invest in skills and training by introducing a Training Tax Relief.”