UK Games Industry Salary Survey 2010

Last week we asked readers of and to respond to an extensive salary survey. Hundreds took part, revealing details on their career and 2010 job prospects. Here we analyse the answers and offer topline insight into the jobs market, and comparing the results to our 2009 survey.

(Note: except for the breakdowns by discipline, results refer to the answers supplied by those working in publishing, retail, development, services, PR and marketing and the games media within the UK. A breakdown of international – and UK – figures for games development specifically will be published by our sister site Develop in the coming weeks.)


For 2010 our survey shows no growth in the average salary. In fact it’s down a percentile from last year’s 31,655 to 31,370. It’s no surprise given the market’s slowdown – and effective shrink – during the last 12 months.

For this number, calculated from data given by 399 UK respondents, we’ve gone for a median average rather than a mean average (which would include the handful of very senior execs who kindly took part as well). When you factor those high-flyers back in the average raises, up to 37,352 a year.

Including all the answers from US and Euro staff the median average is 31,509 (and the mean is 40,467).

The average salaries per role are similarly flat, showing only minor increases of a few per cent maximum.



44,643 (2009: 43,000)


27,738 (2009: 26,960)


32,250 (2009: 31,973)


31,964 (2009: 30,442)


18,056 (2009: 18,125)


28,928 (2009: 26,153)

Figures given are a median average which discounts higher salaries from top-level execs with salaries in excess of 100,000. Figures for UK only.


We asked three key questions about the future of the job market…

Are you satisfied that your current salary covers your cost of living?

While there isn’t any difference between 2009’s answers (which was 62 per cent yes, and 38 per cent no), dig deeper and there are some trends both frustrating and interesting.

The professions most likely to say no to the above were in-store staff, games journalists, senior PRs, games designers and QA staff.

Those most satisfied were studio coders – usually those working in London.

In the next 12 months do you expect your salary to rise, fall or stay put?

There are slightly more pessimistic answers here, too – with fewer people expecting their salaries to rise this year. Last year, around 60 per cent hoped for a raise.

Perhaps, 12 months after the r-word was first officially declared, the workforce has accepted the fact there’s a lengthy recession recovery due.

But no one surveyed said they expected a drop in salary this year, suggesting the worst is behind us.

Regarding your current job situation, are you feeling confident about 2010?

Respondents were more upbeat about 2010 overall. Last year a third said they weren’t confident about 2009 – a year on, just 25 per cent are worried.

Those saying yes cited reasons like ‘the shift in distribution models’ and the compulsory need for good development talent as reasons to be cheerful.

What we assume to be blind optimism even led one mag staff writer to claim this will be the year ‘I am finally paid more than under a penny a word’.


If you are considering a change of job in future, what is the main reason?

When are you likely to change jobs?

The disparity between 2010’s and 2009’s results for options one and two is most telling – clearly, a huge number of people aren’t expecting (or looking) for a change of job this year. 2010 is all about employees seeking stability.

Are you attracted by the opportunity to work overseas?

There’s a jump on 2009 here, with more people saying they would work abroad.


Do you receive additional benefits/bonus over and above your basic salary?

Does your employer contribute to your pension?

Does your employer provide any other perks, bonuses or benefits?

Do bonuses or benefits influence where you want to work?

Many staff get sales or performance-related bonuses, but not as many reported as in 2009. In fact it’s clear there has been a slight cut back on bonsues and other benefits – but not pension plans. As with last year those on lower salaries were less likely to get any perks. A large portion of those were more likely to say they plan to change jobs during 2010 – although not necessarily for a role with simply better perks.

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