February 9, 2009

Mean salary

Filed under: Games Industry — bittermanandy @ 2:06 pm

Just a quickie… interesting follow up to my recent article, which was followed by some comments about salaries in the games industry.

Develop have got their annual survey salary out, and list the following:

Average Yearly Salaries:
Lead Programmer – £41,250
Programmer – £25,810
Junior Programmer – £18,928

A few thoughts spring to mind:

1. Wow. Now I remember why I left the games industry.

2. £26K for a programmer is less than £29K for an artist or £27 for a junior audio engineer! That disagrees very strongly with my anecdotal experience. I don’t know of any artists or audio guys paid more than their programmer colleagues, and didn’t think that was the normal state of affairs at any games company anywhere. (Design is a tricky one. Junior designers get shafted, but lead designers / directors can make a fortune). Surprising.

3. £19K average for a junior programmer (implying many get less)? That’s appalling! I was paid £20K as a junior seven years ago! Also, the last company I was involved with hiring at, offered around £23K as standard for new junior hires.

I’m not going to say the Develop survey is wrong, because they’ve had a wide range of respondents whereas I’ve only got my own personal limited anecdotal experience to draw from. What I will say is, if those Develop figures are right, there’s a lot of people out there getting completely stitched up. They’d be earning a lot more in another industry. Is that worth giving up, in order to fulfil their childhood dream of making games for a living? That’s a question only they can answer. For a while, my answer was “yes”. Now, though, I stand my updated decision of making software for a living, and making games for fun.


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