Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dev Working Conditions

According to an IDGA survey posted this week, 22 percent of the gaming industry is now composed of women, up 11.5 percent from 2 percent responded as transgender or other. Which is great to see that strides are being made to include more people into the business.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. While everyone is focusing on the gender gap, I want to talk about the job itself. Those surveyed have worked with 4 different employers over the course of 5 years. More then half of these employees earn less then $50,000 a year. On average, a person has been in the industry for 9 years and has worked on 16 projects. And 39% of developers who leave the industry find a much better quality of life once they are out. 15% leave because they are burnt out.

Why do I care about these stats? It says a lot about the high demand, high turnaround rate of the business. Job security is difficult. Very rarely will you see the working devs, coders, artists, testers, stick with a company for more then a few months. Once their job is done, they move on, usually through force by the company. The only way to guarantee a long term, steady job, is to nab a director position for a game that 'may' last for a few spinoffs, or to build the company yourself. And that doesn't instill a lot of confidence into the work-force to want to join in game development. Having to job hunt every 6-8 months is not pleasant.

And with the high turnover rate comes the high burnout. A person can only do one task for so long before it becomes monotonous. A lot of the programming for games is write, rinse, repeat. Very little variety occurs, and it's easy to see why people want to leave not to long into their careers. Well, assuming they get into a position to have a career. Tasks are repetitive. Nothing new is being thrown in to challenge employees. There is no loyalty if you're going to be booted in less then a year after you finish your task. Even better, 53% of people believe that "crunch time" isn't a necessary element in game development. But! they do feel pressured to work longer hours without additional compensation in order to get projects done.

It's not looking very comfy to work for the gaming business. Why put forth the effort and school work if you're going to be treated like an expendable commodity?

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