"This Tuesday Ukie is launching a manifesto that calls on the next government to urgently help the games industry close the skills gap, to provide funding strands that rival encroaching international competition and to develop smart regulation that supports rather than stifles innovation,” said Ukie communications and content officer Louisa Keight. “With a vacancy rate of over 8%, we estimate that these key barriers to growth are costing the country’s economy £133 million in lost GVA per year.”
The UK’s gaming scene generates £6 billion every year, supporting 76,000 full time employees. However, Ukie believes that there’s room to grow.
Ukie identifies seven key actions the next UK Government should take to support the UK’s gaming industry, namely:
- The introduction of a digital creativity GCSE, empowering students to combine creative thinking with technical skills.
- Reforms to post 16 education through greater flexibility in the apprenticeship levy and collaborations with the industry.
- The reintroduction of a skills investment fund dedicated to the gaming industry.
- Renewing the UK games fund for an additional three years, with an increased budget.
- Prioritising local growth through targeted resources from local authorities and devolved governments.
- The development of new smart regulations supporting innovation in the space.
- Reducing via fees and bureaucracy for skilled workers to alleviate short term skills gaps for UK businesses.
“We’re delighted to be speaking on behalf of our 600 members to make the needs of our
sector crystal clear to Government around the key areas of skills, funding and regulation,” said Ukie co-CEO Daniel Wood.
“By launching this manifesto, we want to send a message to those in power that the UK games industry is not only a strong economic powerhouse, but also a key cultural export. To continue to grow and compete globally, our Manifesto sets out where the industry needs more support, particularly in addressing our skills needs and providing more funding if we are to live up to our full potential.
“We urge policy makers of all parties to recognise the growth opportunities that the games sector offers to the UK and look forward to working with them to make the UK the best place in the world to make, sell and play games.”
Trouble in the UK
The UK has seen a period of significant turbulence due to a combination of global factors on top of Brexit, Partygate and Liz Truss’s short but disastrous premiership leading to recession and reduced confidence in the ruling Tory government. With an election next year, current prime minister Rishi Sunak is facing increasing pressure and as such, both he and Labour chief rival Keir Starmer would be wise to consider Ukie’s proposals and give the UK’s gaming sector - and the economy as a whole - a significant boost.
Notably, a recent report found that the majority of the UK’s game development scene is based in London or the South of England. Ukie’s demand for increased funding throughout the industry could prove vital in boosting the local economies of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, as well as the North of England. With more and more game developers and publishers being established throughout the region, it’s arguably critical that the UK government following the next election, whoever that may be, takes efforts to foster growth nationwide.
“Games companies up and down the country are noticing the negative impact that a shortage of the right kinds of skills is having on their business,” commented Hello Games head of publishing and chair of the Ukie board Tim Woodley. “It is vital that Government heeds the recommendations included in Ukie’s manifesto to not only support the UK’s video game industry but also to futureproof our workforce for an increasingly digital economy.”