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Best Places To Work Awards 2019: How happy are UK game developers?

The survey results paints a positive picture, but identify areas for improvement

Tomorrow is the third UK Best Places To Work Awards.

In the judging of these awards, surveyed over 2,700 employees from over 75 companies. As a result, we have some interesting insight on how the UK games workforce feel about their jobs.

Companies volunteer to take part in these awards, and typically these businesses view themselves as good places to be (although some were just seeking feedback). That means that this survey is self-selecting, and it's likely that less happy workplaces chose not to participate. So although this data is interesting and highlights areas of success and weakness, it's worth noting that it's not representative of the entire UK games industry.

So what did we discover?

Well, across the Best Places participants, employees are satisfied and happy with their jobs. 92.3% of staff said they were very satisfied with their employers, with just 2.56% dissatisfied (the rest neither agreed or disagreed with that sentiment).

88.4% said that working in video games gave them a sense of purpose, while 86% said they plan to stay in the games industry for at least the next two years (versus 5.2% who said they planned to leave). 95.2% of employees said that their companies are flexible with working hours (just 1.2% disagreed). Meanwhile, a whopping 97% of staff like the people they work with (versus 0.5% who don't).

Elsewhere, 85.4% say that quality is important where they work (although 5.6% disagreed), while 91.1% of respondents feel secure in their jobs (with 2.6% worried about the future). That latter figure is perhaps surprising considering the concerns around Brexit, and recent video game lay-offs worldwide at companies like EA, Activision and GameStop.

Management also came in with some decent scores. 87.5% of respondents have confidence in their management team (vs 5% who don't), 90% of staff feel that management cares about their wellbeing (vs 3.6% who don't), and 92.5% say they trust their boss.

There were some areas where the numbers dipped a bit lower, however.

For instance, 70.5% of Best Places respondents feel that staffing levels are adequate at their companies (12.2% feel that levels are inadequate). 77.6% of staff feel that deadlines are realistic (and almost 10% say deadlines are unrealistic). Training is an issue, with 73.9% of staff saying their company provided them with the initial training needed, and 72.4% given ongoing training. 10% of staff say that training hasn't been provided for.

The lowest figures were (unsurprisingly) around diversity, with 21% of Best Places respondents saying that their companies do not do enough to support minority groups in the games industry. As these are businesses that view themselves as Best Places candidates, we can conclude that these issues would likely be bigger when replicated across all UK games companies.

Many of the games firms that put themselves forward for Best Places to Work Awards claim they are 'anti-crunch', and that's largely backed-up by the data. 89% of staff saying they do not feel obligated to do excessive overtime (vs 3.7% who do feel obligated) and almost the same number saying they have a good work/life balance (88.9% vs 3.8%).

Although the data doesn't reflect the entire UK games scene, it does show that there are a decent number of games companies in the UK who have a happy and motivated workforce.

Tomorrow during the Best Places To Work Awards, we will be looking at some of the chief areas of concern for video games through a series of panels and talks. That's before the awards, where we will reveal the games companies that received the highest scores from their staff.

The Best Places To Works Awards UK 2019 take place on Friday, September 20 at London's Ham Yard Hotel. You can purchase tickets here.

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Christopher Dring avatar
Christopher Dring: Chris is a 17-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who
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