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Report: Video games industry struggles to recruit EU talent

July 3, 2020

The European Commission has published its EU Skills Agenda shining a light on a digital skills gap that is impacting EU recruitment in Europe’s €21.6 billion-strong video games industry.

ISFE CEO Simon Little said: “We welcome the European Commission’s  12 actions in this Agenda as an important step forward to address the skills shortage in our industry.  In particular, we welcome the ‘Skills Pact’ as an important element in the up- and re-skilling of Europe’s workforce. Europe  urgently needs to  increase the digital talent pool and to boost basic digital skills in the EU population, starting already in school. Europe’s video games industry – one of the fastest growing sectors in the digital economy – is facing serious recruitment challenges and a fundamental transformation of education and training in Europe is urgently needed.”

The annual members’  survey of ISFE’s UK member, UKIE, revealed that 76 per cent of the participating video game companies reported difficulties in finding skilled staff, which is well above the average of 40 per cent of businesses in the EU that reportedly have difficulties in finding ICT specialists.

Similarly, results from the  Polish ‘Gamedev 2017’ study – 7 confirmed this trend. While nearly 93 per cent of the companies indicated that the skillset is the key determining factor in choosing a new team member, only 10 per cent were satisfied with graduates’ preparedness.

Competition from other countries or sectors is another major concern when vacancies cannot be filled easily. Video games companies around the world compete fiercely to recruit the best talent internationally for roles which are highly specialised and forward-facing. Additionally, as a relatively young industry which relies on cutting-edge technical talent, games businesses often compete not only with themselves but with the wider technology industry.

European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) COO Jari-Pekka Kaleva said : “We welcome the Commission’s acknowledgement of the importance of increasing the attractiveness of STEM studies and careers, with focused actions to attract girls and women.  With women representing 45 per cent of video game players in Europe, we need them equally represented in our workforce. As a sector, we invest significantly in the training of our future talent in the EU and in attracting talent from outside the EU, but this alone will not solve our skills gap. The EU needs to drive change at national  level to ensure that people receive the necessary knowledge, skills and competences to fill roles that continuously evolve and change. Europe needs to widen its scope from reforming formal education to supporting non-formal education like game development-focused summer camps, youth clubs and game jams.”.

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