Just one-fifth of UK game industry employees have undertaken work experience

New Creative Skillset report looks at education, career development and diversity
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Just 21 per cent of people in the games sector have taken part in work experience programmes prior to entering the industry, lower than any other sector in creative media.

That’s according to Creative Skillset's Creative Media Workforce Survey, which took information from 564 respondents in games, and a total of 4,826 professionals across various creative industries, including VFX, animation, film, radio and TV.

In the wider creative media workforce, an average of 41 per cent of employees had undertaken work experience prior to their first job. It should be noted however that the figure of 21 per cent was an increase from the 14 per cent reported in 2010.

66 per cent of those in games who had undertaken work experience before getting their first job were paid, a fall from a figure of 71 per cent in 2010. This compares with 77 per cent on average in other creative sectors.

According to the survey, non-graduates, those aged over 35 and women within the games workforce were more likely to have received no pay for their work experience.

30 per cent of respondents meanwhile said they had taken unpaid work outside of official work experience, a rise of six per cent since 2010.

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It should be noted that the report does not appear to ask whether respondents had developed their own projects outside of education and traditional work experience, which may have impacted career prospects and these results.

Elsewhere in the survey, it was reported that the average annual income for the game industry was £34,200, slightly higher than the wider creative media workforce salary of £33,900. This differs from our own salary survey however, which puts the average UK developer income at £33,000.

Career development

The survey reported that 42 per cent of those in games had received training in the past 12 months as part of career development, compared with 51 per cent of the wider creative media industries.

The average number of days training received in the past 12 months was 27, the highest across all sectors. 53 per cent however said they had experienced a barrier to training in the last year, most commonly high fees and difficulties in assessing course quality.

40 per cent of the games workforce have current training or skills development needs, lower than the average.

Workforce diversity

The game industry is said to have the youngest age profile of the wider creative media workforce – just 32 per cent are aged 35 or over.

Six per cent of respondents consider themselves to be disabled, slightly more than the average of five per cent across sectors.

Five per cent reported to be lesbian, gay or bisexual – compared to seven per cent of the wider creative media workforce.

You can read the full Creative Media Workforce Survey by Creative Skillset here.

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