Pay gap between entry level and senior developers rises, study finds

Average developer income fluctuates year-on-year

The average yearly income for game developers in roles such as art, audio and production have fluctuated significantly since last year, according to a new Develop study.

As revealed in our latest Salary Survey, the average annual income for game developers globally has fallen slightly to £34,183, with the average salary in core development professions rising and falling compared to last year.

Wages for lead programmers have risen to £49,052, up just over £4,000 from last year. The average salary for programmers has risen by £1,000 to £35,000, while junior programmers earn roughly the same at just under £20,000.

The average annual income for artists meanwhile rose by £5,000 to £31,685. Lead artists also earn just over £2,000 more than last year, with the salary from junior artists almost exactly the same.

Income for audio experts has risen significantly, with the wage for an entry-level audio role now at £25,000 and those in lead audio earning £54,000.

This is up from last year in which lead audio experts reported they earned £42,000 a year, with entry-level professionals making an average of £19,000.

It should be noted however that only half as many audio professionals took part in the survey compared to last year, which may have distorted results in this area.

Salaries for producers have also dipped from last year, with the average income standing at £31,000 compared to the £36,500 that was reported last year.

Lead producers also revealed they were earning slightly less, making around £51,000 compared to nearly £53,000 previously.

Income for creative directors fell by around £3,000, while studio heads reported a salary on average of £81,000, down from last year’s £88,750. However, given the limited number of studio head roles, and the fact that bonuses were not included in the base salary, this number may not be indicative of overall trends in the game industry.

Pay divide increases

Data from our latest survey also revealed a rise in the pay gap between entry level and senior industry professionals across most core development roles.

The pay gap between entry level programmers currently stands at £30,000, compared to £24,000 last year, while the split between top and bottom audio roles has risen to £29,000, up from £23,000 the year prior.

Producers meanwhile earned £20,000 less than lead producers on average, up from £16,000, with similar roles in publishing also seeing a small £2,000 rise in the pay gap to £16,000.

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