Studios in Britain facing programming staff shortage

Studios in Britain facing programming staff shortage
Michael French

By Michael French

March 2nd 2009 at 2:16PM

UK desperate for coding talent and situation is holding us back, says Tiga survey

Tiga report The State of the UK Video Game Development Sector, published today, says that UK developers are still facing a skills shortage - specifically for talented programmers.

The report, which surveyed 100 games firms, found that 63 per cent of studios had faced skill shortages in the last 12 months. Of those developers who have experienced skill shortages, finding programmers was the most challenging position to fill with 74 per cent finding it hard to fill programmer vacancies, Tiga said.

88 per cent of those surveyed through the problem was a lack of skills, experience or qualifications. 70 per cent said that greater availability of skilled labour would help their business.

Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, said: “Ultimately, the skill shortages that are holding back the games industry will only be surmounted by improving standards in mathematics and sciences in schools, thereby increasing the potential supply of skilled people available for work in the games industry.

"Stronger financial incentives to attract the best graduates to teach in schools are part of the solution. The national curriculum should also be made more flexible to give schools the freedom to teach subjects such as computer science. A career in the video games industry should be promoted in school, not least to encourage more young people to stick with science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

“In higher education, tuition fees for mathematics and computer science students should be reduced in order to increase the supply of graduates in these areas. Additionally, our universities must be adequately funded. Cuts in computer science courses should be reversed.

“The Government should also consider establishing a Tiga managed Games Education Fund which could promote industrial secondments, research fellowships, and education outreach and knowledge transfer programmes. This would not only strengthen links between developers and academia. It would also help to enhance the competitiveness of the UK games development sector.”