Earlier this week, SNJV, France’s leading games association, announced the results of a detailed study on the employment environment in France’s games sector [FR]. The study was conducted in partnership with talent management firm Opcalia and builds on intial work by Capital Games. Approximately 100 game studios / companies participated the study, which ran from September 2011 through July 2012. The principal objectives of the study were to produce a source of reference on all video games professions in France and gather some solid data on employment trends and compensation in the sector. The biggest take away from the study was that although the video game sector inspires a vast amount of passion in many, as one might suspect, working in the sector poses many challenges in terms of renumeration and job security.
Key Highlights by SNJV:
- The vast majority of game companies in France are very small, with 48% having fewer than 10 employees and only 33% that have managed to reach the €1 million + revenue mark (only 8% generate more than €10 million / yr). With a failure rate approx 20 – 30% higher than in the UK or Germany [FR] (according to Nicolas Gaume, president of SNJV), this underscores the tough situation faced by France’s game companies.
- While the majority of employees in the sector are in more permanent roles (ie CDI or management direction), the sector relies heavily on freelancers, particularly in French game companies with fewer than 50 employees (79% of all game companies in France)
- The majority focus exclusively on non-physical games (i.e. online, mobile, social), with 41% developing both physical and non-physical games. Although this represents the direction that the games sector is moving, this dynamic is most likely also driven by the smaller size and scale (in terms of resources and revenues) of France’s game studios.
- Though salaries in the sector are highly variable and, not surprisingly, heavily depend on the size of the company, compensation does tend to be quite low on average vs other tech sectors with an average ‘pre-tax’ non-management-level salary of €25k – €30k / per year.
As mentioned, the study also sought to create a source of reference on the various types of professions in the sector. Ultimately, they ended up identifying 28 different types of jobs, which they grouped into five main categories: management (e.g. production director, project mgr), design (e.g. lead game designer), ‘transversal’ (e.g. Q&A tester, community manager), image (e.g. concept artist), and technology (e.g. lead programmer). This reference offers a very use resource for those looking to expanding in the sector, job seekers, and entrepreneurs alike.
As SNJV is working quite actively on their initiative Le Game, which seeks to help France’s game companies expand abroad, it would be great if they could launch a study such as this on the multi-country level. It would be very useful to see whether the conclusions they’ve reached are commonplace in the industry or if they are, in fact, unique to France.