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Market-defying growth surge for UK’s gaming sector

The UK’s £4 billion gaming sector is predicted to almost triple in value within the next three years, providing jobs for more than 80,000 people by 2025.

The findings come from a new report set to be released this month by global recruitment agency Robert Walters – Gaming: the perfect play for growth – which highlights how gaming is the only industry within the leisure and entertainment sector to have defied the odds during Covid-19, making more than the video, music and film industries combined during lockdown.

The report predicts that the value of the UK gaming sector will reach £10 billion by 2023.

By the end of the first quarter of 2020 alone, digital downloading increased by 67% week-on-week and physical game sales increased by a staggering 218% amid widespread anticipation of lockdown measures.

Tom Chambers, senior manager technology at Robert Walters, comments: “In a world where blockbuster premieres, national sporting events, and hospitality and leisure were all vetoed, gaming has further infiltrated the daily lives of multiple generations as one of the only accessible lockdown past-times.”

He adds that accessibility is at an all-time high, with games now available on mobiles, apps and PCs. “During lockdown there was a substantial rise in new users looking to bridge the social limitation with friends and family by playing together online – this was particularly notable with the over 60s market who took to gaming to ‘keep their brain in shape’ and play with grandchildren,” he says. 

Job Vacancies on the Rise

Gaming companies have continued to show an increase in vacancies of 20% year-on-year across all areas, with IT vacancies up by 43%. In particular this year, roles in game programming (+154%), project management (+140%), developers (+91%), audio/video specialists (+76%), and artist/creative (+59%) will explode, as the race continues to keep up with global demand.The sector currently employs 27,000 people in the UK – but this is expected to rise to more than 80,000 in five years on the back of the industry’s rapid expansion.

Chambers adds: “A number of countries have firmly cemented their reputation as big players in the gaming market – in particular largely populated and tech proficient countries such as Japan, South Korea, China, and the US.

“While the UK may still be considered a young sector it now sits fifth in the list of the largest gaming markets in the world.

“One of the biggest indicators of the success of video game development and sales in the UK is the speed at which the jobs market has grown. Although the UK may not boast the huge populations of other countries, it has always remained competitive at developing technology – as well as housing some of the best gaming talent in the world.”

In a sign of the increasing maturity of the UK sector, gaming companies are rapidly increasing recruitment into the sales and marketing space in order to better monetise their products. In 2019, there was a 25% increase in marketing vacancies compared to the previous year.

While historically IT has dominated the hiring agenda within gaming – previously representing 75% of all roles advertised – this has now dropped to 68%.

Instead, back office and support function roles have grown in prominence, with 13% of all roles advertised being within marketing or PR, followed by office/business support (5%), HR (5%), accounting (3%), and procurement & supply chain (2%).

The report is expected to be released by mid-October by Robert Walters and data provider Vacancysoft. To request a copy, click here.

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