Gaming – UK Tech Labour Market Trends, October 2023

Is Hybrid Working finally hitting the Gaming sector?

Key findings include:

  • Gaming hits 5.4% of all vacancies across tech companies, up from 3.5% in 2019
  • IT Development remains a key function, accounting for over 32% of vacancies
  • London remains the largest hub for hiring with 27% of the vacancies, hybrid on the rise
  • Activision Blizzard, has had a 62% drop in vacancies, maybe linked to the acquisition?

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The slowdown in the technology sector has generally also been felt in gaming, with this year being 55.8% down on last year. Nonetheless, 2023 is 31% up on 2019, showing the underlying trend is upward. As a result, Gaming has hit 5.4% of all vacancies across tech companies, up from 3.5% in 2019 according to the latest UK Technology Labour market trends report by Talent Alpha and market data analysts Vacancysoft.

IT Development remains a key function, consistently accounting for over 32% of vacancies. Nevertheless, we forecast a dip, this year also of 57%. In terms of specific roles, the Artist/Creative role is poised to be the most sought-after in the gaming sector, despite an anticipated -59.6% decrease. This function accounts for 18.5% in relation to all IT roles within the sector.

London remains the largest hub for hiring with 27% of the vacancies. However, this year to date, we have seen a stark 61.9% drop which has meant the share of the national total has fallen significantly, down from 32% last year. Finally, more and more companies are offering remote and hybrid positions in the gaming sector. At the latest count, we found that within gaming specifically, this has now risen to 2.9% of the total, which is below technology overall. Is this due to the highly collaborative nature of gaming development, resulting in businesses wanting people to work together on-site?

JAMES CHAPLIN – CHIEF EXECUTIVE – VACANCYSOFT comments:

“Hybrid work is the biggest change happening in the workforce of today. The gaming sector has traditionally been less likely to hire in this way, the question is whether in light of current skills in demand challenges, this continues?”

The gaming sector is going through a period of consolidation with Electronic Arts being one of the most acquisitive for a long time. Equally with Microsoft now looking to acquire further, this trend arguably is accelerating. With that we can see Activision Blizzard, subject to a buyout from Microsoft, has seen a 62% drop in vacancies. The question will be once the buyout is finalised, will hiring bounce back?

In conclusion, the IT job market in the Gaming sector is also highly dependent on financing and higher levels of liquidity due to the heavy levels of investment required to develop games. This is a very rich SME sector, hence this part of the technology industry has been disproportionately impacted by the slowdown in corporate finance and quantitative tightening. The hope is, that as the economy normalises, gaming hiring will pick up also.

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