Britain Faces Video Game Developer Shortage, Industry Association Warns

TIGA, the network for videogame developers and digital publishers, has proposed that a number of roles should be added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to enhance the ability of studios to grow their teams, trade and turnover. TIGA made the comments as part of its response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s “Call for Evidence: Partial review of the Shortage Occupation Lists for the UK and for Scotland.”

Games businesses cannot always recruit the staff that they need from within the UK or the EU because video games development often requires people with highly specialized skills. Yet in fast moving high-technology industries like the videogame sector speed is of the essence when it comes to securing the right staff. If studios are unable to recruit the talent required to produce a game or part of a game, the work will usually be transferred elsewhere if part of a global entity or the contract lost, if an independent business.

TIGA has proposed to the MAC that a number of roles should be added to the SOL, including Game Analyst, Senior Game Artist, Senior Game Designer, and a range of Senior Games Programmers. Having an occupation listed on the SOL enables a fast track recruitment process, which means developers can hire staff from outside the EU without having to advertise the role for 28 days within the UK first, including on the Job Centre Plus website.

Dr Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, comments: “Adding further specialist roles to the Shortage Occupation List will enable more studios to recruit the highly skilled personnel that they need in order to operate effectively and efficiently. It will enhance the ability of studios to grow their teams, trade and turnover.”

Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion, said: “As well as enabling studios to recruit highly skilled people more easily, a careful increase in the SOL could ultimately help to improve the skills of local workers. Migration can have a multiplier effect on knowledge transfer with the recruitment of skilled staff, resulting in knowledge-sharing with existing teams and enhancing the skills and knowledge of the UK’s indigenous workforce.”