There seems to be a lot of turnover in the game industry. I'm curious what the average job length is for game developers.
Average time in a job at a single company or average time in the industry before total burnout?
Since the industry is project based job length tends to be directly associated with product cycles.
The is often the result of the post ship layoff. Companies tend to dump staff once a project ships since they don't need a full production team for pre-production on the next project. Now the nicer companies tend to use temporary contract hires for short term production staffing needs. This lets the employee know that they likely don't have a paycheck when the project ends. However the big publishers regularly cut even full time staff once the xmas games are sent to manufacturing.
The other piece is that when finishing up a title employees are more likely to look around at other options. If you've just shipped your third football title and are burned out on the genre you tend to wait until the game is done and then find another job somewhere else.
While there are some devs that have spent an entire career at a single company, what is far more common is finishing 1-2 games at a developer and then moving off to another one.
My experience, in numbers:
- 10.5 years (starting in summer 2000)
- 6 studios. 3 redundancies, a 4th looking likely.
- 4 moves, to jobs in new towns/cities
- 8 shipped titles (4 in the first 3 years)
- 3 cancelled console projects
- 8+ platforms (GBA,DS,PC,Xbox,PS2,Wii,360,PS3)
- Team sizes ranging from 6 to over 100
- 1 case of severe burnout/depression...
This is maybe a little worse than average, but not entirely unusual... The industry has always been unstable, but in the last couple of years it's gone from bad to near-meltdown. Not sure if new hardware is going to save it this time, or just make things worse...
Programmers average 5 years... I am not sure about the rest of the professions as I am just a programmer :)
Worked QA at EA Burnaby on 4 and a bit titles, call it 2.5 years. Worked QA at Radical on Scarface: TWIY, let go at end of project so about 1 year. Worked at United Front Games on True Crime: Hong Kong, let go at end of contract so 1 year.
At my company there are quite a few developers who've been here more than 10 years and some for the entire length of the company. Turn over is higher at the end of projects and I think some people have itchier feet than others. Turn over is pretty low here I think - certainly I've been in this job longer than another other I've had (4 1/2 years so far).
I have several friends at Ubisoft that have been working there for more than 15 years now.