Could I be earning more if I moved jobs right now?
This is a question you've probably asked yourself more than once and it's something that can be very hard to answer.
We're told that moving jobs regularly is the nature of the video games industry - a few years here working on one title, and a few years there developing a new IP. But you also see some people finding a ‘spiritual home' and staying with a games studio for many years.
How long you stay in your job, will most likely be down to a whole host of factors like personal circumstances, structural changes and the projects you work on. We know though that earning potential both in the short term and long term is something that needs to be considered.
So now, for the first time (maybe), we've applied some science to the age-old question 'should I stay, or should I go'!
Our games and interactive salary survey 2019 asked people like you, working in the Games and Interactive industries, their salaries and how long they had been at their current jobs. We compared these two bits of information and broke it down by seniority level so that you can see how salaries fluctuate at your level over time.
These numbers do not take into account years experience (as those charts could get a bit messy) so we'll remind you here that at every stage the decision should, of course, take into account all of the factors we mentioned above. But read on to to see what salary alone says about your job move...
NB: These results are averages across all areas of the industry e.g. developers, artists, PMs, etc. For Mid, Senior and Lead we have are looking solely at the UK, but in order to show a clear picture for Managerial, we have taken the global results to make sure we have a big enough sample size to show you the best results.
I’m mid-level – should I move? NO, not unless you’re moving for a promotion
If you’re at a Mid-level working in the games industry, and starting to get itchy feet the survey data shows that:
- It could work in your favour to stay put for now and wait until you’re looking to get promoted to senior level when you move jobs
- On average those working at mid-level earn the most when they’ve been at a company for 5-10 years, and there’s not a lot of movement in salary between 1-4 years.
- You’ll need to be prepared for your salary to stay in the same region if you move to another mid-level role.
So, unless you’re desperate to change the tools or projects you’re working on, or you need to relocate, then it’s a good idea to stay for 2+ years before even making a move.
I’m in a senior position – should I move? Up to you!
And for Seniors? Well staying or going doesn’t appear to make that much difference:
- You’re potentially only looking at a £5k range between <1 year and 4-10 years meaning minimal difference when moving within senior level.
- It doesn’t appear to make a big impact on your salary if you stay or move - you’ll be earning about the same across the board.
- But be warned, Seniors don’t get too comfy! Settling for Senior at the same place for too long will be at your detriment!
So, at Senior level if you’re looking to move around, focus on the projects, personal development and skills you can gain rather than it being for money. This will also put you in the best possible position to move up to lead/manager when the perfect opportunity comes up.
I’m a lead – should I move? NO
For those in a lead role working in the UK, commitment could be key.
- Staying with the same company for five or more years could work in your favour.
- Results indicate those Leads with great experience and history behind them can command higher salaries by staying rather than going.
- Once you prove yourself at the same company, the likelihood is you’ll have more trust, and be given the bigger more exciting projects to lead etc.
If you are set on moving sooner than 5 years in at your company, a bit like those in Mid-Level, salary most likely won’t be your reason for moving on.
I’m a manager – should I move? YES, if money's the most important thing for you
Basically, if you’re a Manager and you’ve not changed job for a while… do it now!
- Those that had moved recently earned more. Full stop.
- You’re at the top of your game so why not move around to work on the projects that excite you the most… you could get paid handsomely if you do.
- BUT as we saw from our benefits section of the survey, those at managerial say salary becomes less important.
So for managers, think about what’s important! You’ve ended up at your current company for a reason, so maybe it’s not worth jumping ship just for that chunk more money?
These results give you an insight into what could happen to your salary when you move but please don’t go making any rash decisions before weighing up the whole package.
As with all data you should probably take it with a pinch of salt. As we said, our data doesn’t consider people’s years of experience at the time of their move. We have kept that in mind during our analysis of the numbers but this will undoubtedly impact the salary level you can demand.
Lottie Bevan, Co-founder Weather Factory has created a UK Game Dev Salary database and is asking those working in games to contribute their salary details including years’ experience. It doesn't have any combined findings for now but it's a great resource to take a look at and, if you have a mo, you can add your data to the mix!
And next year between the two we’ll bring you an even more robust set of data.
Want to have your say and be involved in next year’s survey? Drop us an email and we'll add you to our survey database. We will only contact to let you know when we launch the next salary and invite you to participate. We will not contact you with any other marketing or recruitment messages.
If you’d like to discuss your salary and how you can earn more, and/or find a role that’s more fulfilling in other ways then get in touch with us and we’ll see if we can help you find your next dream job in games.