Scotland top in the UK for gaming sector job growth

SCOTLAND has seen the largest increase in gaming sector employment of any part of the UK, according to new research from Knight Frank.

The independent commercial property consultancy’s (RE)Play report found that the number of people employed in gaming grew by 60% between 2017 and 2019 – the latest available data.

The sector is estimated to be worth around £350 million to the Scottish economy.

Alasdair Steele, head of Scotland commercial at Knight Frank
Alasdair Steele, head of Scotland commercial at Knight Frank. Credits: Frame.

Knight Frank’s report identified Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow among the UK’s top 20 gaming industry hubs.

Dundee has the fourth highest concentration of gaming companies among the UK’s major towns and cities, and a new £60 million Esports arena with up to 4,000 seats is set to be completed in the city in 2025.

During the first half of 2023, Edinburgh featured in the UK’s top three cities for leasing transactions in the gaming sector, measured by number of deals.

Glasgow is also included among the top five areas for gaming skills, with 76,719 professionals having relevant core skills.

The growth of the industry in Scotland has been supported by the delivery of gaming-specific courses. Abertay University, which has consistently been ranked number one for video games education in Europe, offers six accredited by The Independent Game Developer’s Association (TIGA) – the second most of any academic institution in the UK.

Six more universities offer games-related degrees, while 11 colleges offer HNC and HND-level qualifications.

Alasdair Steele, head of Scotland commercial at Knight Frank, said: “Scotland has a strong track record when it comes to gaming, with Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto among the iconic games to be developed here, and 4J Studios bringing Minecraft to consoles.

Dundee is widely recognised for its expertise in digital media and gaming, with Abertay University forming the UK’s first centre for excellence in computer games education.

“The growth of the sector has been strong in recent years, and that only looks like continuing with such a strong skills base and new infrastructure like the Dundee Esports arena.

Property will undoubtedly have its role to play in supporting creativity, attracting and retaining talent, and giving occupiers the flexibility for high growth.”

Jamie Phillips, Partner at Knight Frank, commented: “The gaming sector is one of the UK’s major success stories of the past few years, earmarked as a priority growth sector by the government.

“The sector’s success is a UK wide story, with 63% of gaming companies based outside of London.

“Thriving gaming hubs can be found in larger cities as well as locations including Leamington Spa, Guildford and Dundee.

“Fast-growing gaming companies are increasingly seeking space with unique digital infrastructure, including resilient connectivity, uninterrupted power supply and an appropriate HVAC system to maintain optimal server operating temperatures.

Proximity to data centre services – either in-built or via third-party providers – are principal considerations when choosing a site or location, as is space which can support flexible working patterns and sustainability objectives. “