Job market and economic contribution

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Official DCMS Statistics

Gross Value Added

GVA by current prices in £bn for the period 2010-2019 across multiple DCMS sectors and subsectors (DCMS, Feb 2021)

Sector 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Computer Games (£bn) 0.40 0.68 0.53 0.44 0.40 0.40 0.96 2.32* 2.67 2.91
Creative Industries (£bn) 69.1 72.1 76.3 81.0 84.8 93.8 98.3 102.8 107.6 115.9
Digital Sector (£bn) 103.0 108.4 111.6 113.6 115.3 118.1 129.7 134.3 139.1 150.6
UK Economy Total (£bn) 1,446 1,482 1,530 1,589 1,661 1,712 1,777 1,844 1,910 1,970

*The leap in computer games GVA between 2016 and 2017 is likely due to improvement in games companies assigning themselves correct SIC codes following Ukie's campaign to achieve this, rather than owing purely to an increase in GVA.

  • According to DCMS's Sector Economic Estimates, GVA by chained volume measures for the whole of the creative industries was a record £113.6bn in 2019, up 5.6% on the total from the previous year. (DCMS, Feb 2021)
  • Video games contributed a record £2.91bn to the UK economy in 2019, measured using current prices and so not accounting for inflation. (DCMS, Feb 2021)
  • Video game development and publishing also contribute to the digital sector, which saw a record total GVA of 147.5bn by chained volume measures in 2019, up 6.1% on 2018. (DCMS, Feb 2021)


Employment in UK DCMS sectors 2011-2019 according to DCMS Sectors Economis Estimates 2015-2019 (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, DCMS)

Sector 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Computer Games 13,000 15,000 19,000 24,000 20,000 23,000 30,000 22,000 27,000
Creative Industries 1.56m 1.69m 1.71m 1.81m 1.87m 1.96m 2.01m 2.04m 2.10m
Digital Sector 1.29m 1.38m 1.38m 1.39m 1.42m 1.46m 1.50m 1.51m 1.56m
UK Total Workforce 30.1m 30.3m 30.8m 31.4m 32.0m 32.4m 32.9m 33.1m 33.6m
  • The video games industry employs 27,000 people, 16,000 (59%) of whom are aged 16-39, with the remaining 11,000 people (41%) aged 40 and over. (DCMS, Apr 2020)

NB: The fluctuations in the games industry employment figures over this time period do not reflect the industry's perception of employment in this same period, owing to limitations in how SIC codes are used to identify the video games sector and consequently how employment is officially measured.

Industry Stats

Screen Business (2018)

The 2018 BFI report Screen Business: How tax incentives help power economic growth across the UK’, provided a range of updated and alternative economic measurements of the UK games industry's economic impact in 2016, including a detailed assessment of the impacts of VGTR. These include:

Overall UK Games Industry (all stats relate to 2016)'

  • The UK games industry supported 47,620 FTE jobs and contributed £2.87bn in GVA to the UK economy.
  • The industry directly employs 20,430 FTEs in development, publishing and retail roles, which contribute £1.52bn in direct GVA to the economy.
Subsector Employment (FTEs) GVA (£m)
Publishing 2,300 526.6
Digital Retail 310 31.7
Physical Retail 3,980 132.0
Total 20,430 1.52
  • In 2016, the UK games industry spent £1.25bn on game development.
  • In the period 2015-2017, there was at least £1.75bn of inward investment in the UK games industry. (Olsberg SPI / BFI, Oct 2018)


  • The VGTR supports 9,240 FTE jobs across the UK games industry, including 4,320 directly in development roles (31% of the total UK development workforce).
  • VGTR games represented £389.9m of UK development spend, 31% of the total development spend. Overall, projects supported by the VGTR contibuted£525m in GVA to the UK economy and £158m in tax revenue.
  • 68% of VGTR-supported games would not be made in the UK, or at all, without the relief in place.
  • For every £1 the Government invested into the games sector via VGTR, an additional £4 in GVA was generated for the UK economy.
  • Of all the screen sector tax reliefs, the games sector was shown to have the highest rate of productivity, where each employee generated an average of £83,800 in GVA for the economy, significantly above the national industrial average of £62,100.

2018 Stats

  • There are 2,277 active video game companies in the UK, as of October 2018. (UK Games Map, Oct 2018)
  • In November 2018 there were 5.7m professional developers in Europe, up by 200,000 on 2017. This compares to the 4.4m in the US, which has that stayed flat year on year. The UK is home to 830,500 professional developers. (Atomico, Dec 2018)
  • London is home to 357,900 professional developers, making it the largest hub of professional developers in Europe and considerably ahead of second-place Paris at 268,600. (Atomico, Dec 2018)
  • THE UK remains the No.1 European destination for international movers in the tech ecosystem, accounting for 20.9% of all international movers. (Atomico, Dec 2018)
  • 44% of founders and employees of private tech start-ups in the UK and Ireland are migrants, the highest percentage of any European region. (Atomico, Dec 2018)
  • Valve’s Steam platforms top 100 highest grossing games of 2017 list featured 15 games made or partly made in the UK, including two games in the top “platinum tier”, one in the gold tier and four in silver. (Steam / Ukie, Jan 2018)
  • Valve’s Steam platforms top 92 games by peak simultaneous players featured 14 games made or partly made in the UK (15.2%), including Rockstar’s ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ in the top "over 100k simultaneous players" tier and six games from the UK (or 40%) in the second "over 50k players" tier. (Steam / Ukie, Jan 2018)
  • Valve’s Steam platforms top 10 highest grossing VR games featured 11 games made in the UK, including one game partly made in the UK in the top “platinum” tier, one UK-made game in the gold tier and four in silver. (Steam / Ukie, Jan 2018)

2017 Stats

  • 83% of UK games businesses predict growth in FY2017/18, up from 79% in the previous year. 82% of games companies are also looking to expand their workforce in the same period. (Ukie, Nov 2017)
  • The UK has been ranked as third best country in the world for the ability to attract, retain, train and educate skilled workers, according to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (INSEAD, Jan 2017, LINK and LINK)
  • London, Birmingham and Cardiff act as talent magnets, helping the UK attract more highly-skilled workers. Cardiff is the 11th best city worldwide at attracting, growing and retaining talent, with London listed 16th and Birmingham 17th. (INSEAD, Jan 2017, LINK and LINK)
  • According to Creative Assembly, their game ‘Halo Wars 2’ contained 1,023,574 lines of code in 146,605 blocks. Their game ‘Alien: Isolation’ contained 691,685 lines of code in 159,050 blocks. (Creative Assembly, 2017)
  • Creative Assembly employed 133 people in their art teams in 2017, 2.3 times larger than in 2012. The ratio of women employed has increased by 5.7 times in the same period. (Creative Assembly, 2017)
  • Environment Artists are the largest group of specialists in the Creative Assembly art team, representing 23% of the workforce. Character Artists (15%), Animators (14%) and Concept Artists (12%) are large parts of the overall team. (Creative Assembly, 2017)
  • In terms of time spent across the three main art areas , 51.6% of time is spent on environment art, 28% on character art and 20% on concept art. (Creative Assembly, 2017)

2016 Stats

  • European games industry professionals rate the UK as the place in Europe where both the best games are made today and the best games will be made in five year’s time. (GDC, Aug 2016)
  • The UK’s creative industries are now worth a record £84.1 billion to the UK economy. The figures show the sector growing at almost twice the rate of the wider UK economy - generating £9.6million per hour. (, Jan 2016)

2015 Stats

  • In 2013, the core UK video games sector (video games made wholly or partially in the UK) supported 12,100 FTEs of direct employment. This is split into 9,400 FTEs in development, 900 in publishing and 1,800 in retail. (BFI, Feb 2015)
  • In 2013, the core UK video games sector (video games made wholly or partially in the UK) contributed £755m in direct GVA. This is split into £639.1m in development, £63.3m in publishing and £53m in retail. (BFI, Feb 2015)
  • In 2013, taking into account the total economic contribution (including multiplier and spillover effects) the core UK video games sector (video games made wholly or partially in the UK) supported 23,900 FTEs of employment, generated £1.4bn in GVA and contributed £429m to the Exchequer. (BFI, Feb 2015)
  • When looking at regional distribution of employment in 2013: for development most FTEs are in London (27%), the South East (21%), the East of England (10%) and West Midlands (10%). For publishing most FTEs are in the South East (32%), London (31%), the East of England (18%) and West Midlands (7%). (BFI, Feb 2015)