The UK games market generated £2.96bn in 2016, which is 1.3 times the size of the video market (£2.25bn) and 2.6 times the size of the music industry (£1.1bn), and is only going to get bigger. “Our team has grown by 34% to over 500 people, within the last year alone,” says Tim Heaton, Studio Director at the games developer Creative Assembly. “While we have fantastic people in the UK, because the industry is growing so quickly, we often need to look abroad to find people who have the specific skills we need.”

"Many people simply don’t realise these jobs exist."

There are more than 12,000 people working full time within the games industry at the moment in the UK. The variety of positions available and the career prospects that go with them are often more extensive than many realise. Within the realm of games design alone there are a multitude of opportunities in content gameplay, UI, UX, narrative or technical design. More broadly, the industry also needs, amongst others, environment artists, sound designers, character artists, development managers and marketers.

 

Creative skills are key

 

One of the major obstacles faced by the industry is the fact that many simply don’t realise these jobs exist. “We find that parents play a critical role in young people’s early career paths and quite regularly they are surprised when they learn about the breadth of professional opportunities available in the games industry,” continues Tim.

"The games market generates 2.6 times more money than the fashion industry."

While more people are coming into the industry via games education courses, Tim is quick to point out that in such a rapidly developing and collaborative arena, passion and creativity often count for as much as a qualification. Tim’s advice for those wishing to succeed in the industry is to create a powerful portfolio; take on board constructive feedback; and never lose the desire to learn.