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  • Game Developer Salary Survey 2013

    - Patrick Miller

  • Audio Professionals

    Average salary: $81,543

    Salaried audio professionals' average salary saw a slight decrease of about $1,600 from last year. Note that our response rate for salaried audio workers is always fairly low compared to other disciplines; there simply aren't that many audio jobs out there, and most of the available audio gigs are contract rather than full-time permanent positions. However, we did get about 15% more respondents from salaried audio devs this year over last year, and last year we saw 30% more audio respondents than the year before, so it looks like the industry is gradually adding more full-time audio jobs. Audio contractors averaged $110,500.

    Most of this year's decrease came from devs with over six years of experience; sound/audio designers and engineers saw a $16,000 cut, and sound/audio directors a $3,000 cut. Sound/audio designers or engineers with 3-6 years of experience actually saw a gain of $1,600 over last year's salary. Unfortunately, we didn't receive enough responses from entrylevel audio professionals to break their salaries out.

    QA Testers

    Average salary: $48,611

    QA testers and leads continue to be the lowest-paid profession in game development. Overall, salaried QA testers saw a slight bump of $700 this year, which puts them at almost twice the average QA contractor's income ($27,237). Testers with less than three years' experience saw a $2,200 increase over last year, testers with 3-6 years of experience saw a $5,400 increase, and QA leads with over six years in the industry saw a $6,400 increase. Also, while the percentage of QA devs that received additional income (besides salary) fell 2%, the devs that did receive additional income were 10% more likely to receive an annual bonus and 9% more likely to participate in a profit-sharing plan over last year. Contractors, meanwhile, only saw an average increase of $200 over last year.

    Canada-based testers averaged $41,731, which is $1,500 less than last year's average salary. European QA salaries also fell by $1,200, bringing their average salary to $31,346.

    Business and Legal People

    Average salary: $103,934

    The "business and legal people" category includes chief executives and executive managers, community managers, marketing, legal staff, human resources, IT, content acquisition and licensing, and general administration staff.

    This aggregated group typically receives the highest average salary in the industry, and 2012 was no exception; its average is actually up about $1,800 over last year. This group also receives the most non-salary income in the industry, though this year they saw a $4,400 decrease from last year's non-salary income.

    Entry-level businesspeople saw a decrease of $4,500 from last year's average, while businesspeople with 3-6 years of experience made $6,800 more than last year, and those with over six years of experience made $5,000 more than last year.

    The gender ratio in the business field remained at a steady 82% male, 18% female. Men's average salaries stayed about the same from last year, while women's average salaries increased by $9,000. That said, the average businessman's salary is roughly $26,000 higher than the average businesswoman's.

    Layoff Rates

    Layoff rates continue to trend slightly downward; 12% of respondents were laid off at some time in 2012, which is 1% lower than 2011's rate and 2% lower than 2010's rate. Overall, we've seen a 7% decrease in layoffs over the last three years.

    Of the devs who were laid off, 59% found new employment at a studio or publisher (up 1% from last year); 16% went into contracting or consulting (down 3%); 7% founded or co-founded a new company (down 3%); 14% went into indie game development (down 1%); 12% haven't found new work since (down 1%), and 11% simply reported "Other." (Note that for this survey question, multiple responses were allowed.) Once again, it appears that the industry is ever-so-slightly stabilizing year over year.

    When it came to finding new jobs, the three most popular methods were by referral (32%), searching job postings (18%), and simply sending in a resume or CV (10%).


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