UK video game industry trade organization TIGA issued a warning today that the video games industry in the region continues to experience a "brain drain of skilled development staff." TIGA said that this warning is based on the results of a new survey of 104 UK games businesses which showed that 20 percent of respondents had lost staff to foreign countries over the previous 12 months.
Many of those highly skilled workers have been lost to Canada because companies there can afford to hire and commit funds to research and development due to generous government tax breaks and incentives.. The Entertainment Software Association of Canada recently said that Canada’s industry has been "successful in attracting investment and skilled personnel from jurisdictions like the United Kingdom.."
“Unfortunately, some of our overseas competitors, powered by tax breaks for games production, have the financial resources available to entice some development staff away from the UK to work in their studios. This is not just damaging to the UK video games sector," said TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson. "It is damaging to the UK economy."
"There will always be a flow of skilled people between countries and this can be positive," added Jason Kingsley, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion. "However, the UK Government should be concerned about the loss of highly skilled people from the UK games industry. A brain drain of highly talented developers exacerbates skill shortages within the games industry and in the long term hurts the UK. TIGA will continue to refine its proposals for Games Tax Relief and other incentives to enable the industry to compete on a level playing field and so ameliorate the brain drain."
TIGA hopes that the government and the video game industry will listen to this warning and work together to stop the exodus to countries such as Canada. So far, the government has not done as much as it could to help video game developers and publishers in the UK.