This year, our salary survey shows a decline in the average UK games industry yearly wage.
Last year we reported the number at 33,123 – this year it is just under 4,000 less, at 29,358.
This is actually back in line with broader historical data, rather than a serious decline. We had last year commented that 2011's data, which also showed a fall to 30,667 was possibly a blip due to a momentarily shrinking industry as some businesses closed or downsized.
Now, it appears that last year's stat was caused by the opposing trends – consolidation as experienced professionals moved roles. (The two causes are not mutually exclusive of course.)
This year, the lower number will also likely be a result of other wider changes in the games industry UK workforce. Specifically, a lower number of retailers (at all levels, from shop floor to head office), less mid-level execs in traditional games publishing, plus a new wave of UK?indie developers, who 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 MCV and sister magazine Develop 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 results 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 31,399. That's another serious decline year on year, where the bigger average was at 35,790.
Take into account all the answers from games industry personnel from around the world and the median average goes up to 32,008 – that's also a decline on last year (34,263), but not the lowest global figure we have calculated (2011's 28,932).
MEN VS WOMEN
Last year our salary survey exposed a significant pay gap between salaries for men and women in the UK games industry.
This year there is little change, with the median salary for men around 2,000 more on average than women. Male respondents earn 32,049 on average a year versus 29,166 for women.
Globally, our figures show a pay gap too, with 32,533 for men and 31,115 for women.
Interestingly, although we have a fewer amount of contributors to the survey this year, we have a wider spread of female candidates than in 2012, with those in more senior positions taking part.
That exposes where the real flaw in the pay grades are: at the most senior level in the games industry, it seems female execs are paid less (on average) than male counterparts, despite the fact that in some instances female industry professionals aged 18 to 29 report a higher career starting wage than men.