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Euro programmers earn 33 per cent less than US counterparts

A new survey has revealed that the salaries of European games programmers are around a third lower than those earned by their counterparts in North America.

A new survey has revealed that the salaries of European games programmers are around a third lower than those earned by their counterparts in North America.

Titled Game Developer Salary Report: 2004 - 2007, the survey was conducted by Game Developer magazine. More than 1000 European professionals took part with the majority coming from the UK, followed by Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands.

According to excerpts shown to GamesIndustry.biz, their responses revealed that the most lucrative jobs in games development are in business and legal work - with the average salary for 2006 standing at around EUR 53k (GBP 36k).

Next on the list are production staff, who earn an average of EUR 45k (GBP 30,500), followed by programmers on EUR 40k (GBP 27k).

Game designers and audio specialists both earn a similar average wage of between EUR 34,500 - EUR 34,750 (around GBP 23,500), while the figure for visual artists is a little lower at EUR 34,300 (GBP 23,200).

At the bottom of the pile are QA staff, who earn an average of just over EUR 26,000 (GBP 17,500).

According to the report, "Europeans in the games industry are earning significantly less than their American counterparts. The only discipline that comes close is QA, which is separated by only 7 per cent in 2006.

"Game designers in Europe are making 25 per cent less, business and legal staff are making 26 per cent less and programmers are making 33 per cent less."

However, the report goes on to note that the salaries of most European games professionals are "steadily increasing". The exception is for those in the audio sector, where wages dropped by 2.3 per cent last year.

The report states that, "The biggest jump was production with a 16 per cent increase in average salary, leaving European producers around USD 16,000 behind those in the US."

Other information included in the full report includes average earnings for the top five European countries, divided into job type, 2005 and 2006 salary averages for each role and the most commonly used methods of gaining employment. The report also offers extensive analysis of salaries in the US.

The Game Developer Salary Report: 2004 - 2007 is now available from the CMP website, priced at USD 2995.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.