Workloads will rise at British studios, study finds

Workloads will rise at British studios, study finds

By Rob Crossley

October 4th 2011 at 1:46PM

Onus to be placed on programmers, who will need to widen their skills, survey claims

UK development studios should anticipate higher demands on their work output, new data suggests.

A survey of more than eighty major UK games studios found that workload demands will outpace staff hires by about 10 per cent.

“This is likely to result in a bigger workload for those employed in programming and other roles over the coming year,” the report read.

The survey – which has also examined fluctuations in console games demand – was undertaken and published by e-skills, a British skills council.

Peter Hounsome, a labour market analyst and the report’s co-author, said the extra demand would likely be placed on the shoulders of programmers.

The survey found that “games programming staff were often also thought likely to require a wider range and higher level of skills over the coming twelve months” to cover additional work.

Only 28% of studios said they would be investing in further training for studio staff over the next 12 months.

The study's results come in the wake of working practice scandals at studios such as Kaos and Team Bondi. The so-called ‘crunch culture’ deeply embedded in the games industry has sparked debate on whether such high demands on games developers can be eased.

Heavier workloads would be a byproduct of “very positive” growth at UK studios, the e-Skills report claims.

“Virtually all studios predict either a static or increasing headcount over the following twelve months, both with respect to employees as a whole but also IT staff in particular,” it read.

“The percentage of studios anticipating a need for more staff over the coming year (68%) was however, higher than that predicting an actual increase in staff numbers over the period (60%).”

Last year, around half of the surveyed studios said they had taken on new staff.

A third (29%) of recruiters said they had had difficulty filling the positions advertised, primarily due to a lack of applicants with the required skills, qualifications or experience.