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Salaries & GW – So You Want to Make Games As a Career?

4 Minute Read
Jan 31 2016
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A lot of recent job posting for the GW design Studio have everyone excited.  Here is what some gamers with salary experience say about what you can expect:

Every Wants to Be a Game Designer!

Everyone has been excited about the recent job posting for Specialist Games that have been going up of late.  Things like these get the blood pumping:

Citadel Technical Editor (Book and Box Games): Nottingham, UK

Friday 29 January, 2016

Do you want to increase the quality of Games Workshop’s books and boxed games by editing the written content to ensure the best possible results? Are you excited by the thought of editing our books and boxed games to ensure they always meet their objectives and accord with our IP and style whilst always maintaining the highest standards of spelling and grammar?

Citadel Rules Writer (Book & Box Games): Nottingham, UK

Wednesday 20 January, 2016

Do you want to write exciting rules that bring the fantastic range of Citadel Miniatures to life? Do you want to develop the game systems of Warhammer Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000 to make them the best they can possibly be? Are you excited about working with a team of professional rules writers to produce new rules for our books and boxed games?

 

Now take a look at some of the general GW Job Posting FAQs for some context:

Q: Why are all your job vacancies in English?

A: Games Workshop is based in England and our global business language is English. To be successful in management and professional roles, the ability to speak English is essential.

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Q: Why are there no salaries on your job vacancies?

A: First and foremost we are looking for someone who is a good fit for both the job and our business. We pay salaries that reflect the value that the individual brings to Games Workshop and we resize and reshape roles for candidates that we think bring even more to a given job.

Q: Will you sponsor my Green Card/Visa/Work Permit?

A: Probably not, no. We generally expect anyone applying for a role to already have the legal permission to work in the country concerned. Only in exceptional circumstances will we sponsor a candidiate and even then it is usually reserved for existing members of staff moving to a different part of the business.

Q: Will you sponsor my professional qualifications/exams?

A: Quite possibly, yes. We recognise and support our staff through a range of professional development and qualification courses that are important to the long-term success of Games Workshop.

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The Harsh Light of Day

Now take a look at what some gamers with experience on the job front say about GW salaries:

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via Dakka’s Ian Sturrock

“Average pay in 2008 was about £26K. There’s been no significant rise since then (recession innit)…”

via Dakka’s torgoch

“GW salaries are in general very low and the company has a major imbalance in internal pay due to the legacy of its transition from a private company to PLC.

My understanding is that:

Painters get it worst, I think they are on 15k (whatever the UK minimum wage is)

Design Studio types get around £18k to start with I understand, be they involved in the physical product or IP product. Their is progression, but not a lot.

For roles in which there is a job market, salaries tend to be a bit more market proximate, so publishing is poor (As a Black Library editor I was offered 19.5k about 10 years ago, which was about the market rate really outside London), media is a bit better and the finance, legal and operational dept manager roles are the best paying jobs.

Long-term higher-ups are on wages that are linked to the fact that the company used to pay royalties on products to designers. Those who have joined since it became a PLC cannot expect to ever reach that level, so as a member of the design studio, you will simply cannot aspire to earn what Jervis earns while remaining with the company.”

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I know, I know.  Not exactly champaign wishes and caviar dreams is it?  Still though, don’t think this is only a GW thing.  These salary bands roughly line up with trends seen in gaming companies on both sides of the Atlantic. In general fields such game design tend to pay lower than expected wages.  These fields are often seen as highly desirable and like the video game industry, tend to attract a steady flow of applicants – thus the downward pressure on wages.  It’s seen as cool, sexy and exotic to work in the games industry – just don’t expect to get rich quick off of it – because there is a line of folks behind you who want that job.  If you want cash, go write software for Goldman Sachs or a Healthcare or Insurance company.  It’s the “boring fields” like that who often pay though the roof for qualified staff.

As with many things in life, things working in the game industry is that classic balance between doing what makes you happy and what pays the bills.

~So who here thinks a career in tabletop gaming is worth the financial risk?

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