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Employee Benefits and Perks in Game Studios: 21 Top Types

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Employee benefits and perks continue to play a crucial role in the offerings of game studios, even amidst the shifting dynamics from an employee-driven market to an employer-driven one. At the end of 2023, as part of our Gamedev Salary Pulse survey, we posed the question, “What benefits does your employer offer?”

This inquiry allowed game development professionals to enumerate the perks and benefits they receive, shedding light on the various ways companies invest in their teams. The diversity of these benefits reflects the industry’s growing commitment to employee well-being and satisfaction, presenting an intriguing facet to examine.

Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the types of benefits our respondents included. Please note that the question allowed for multiple answers, so the percentages will not add up to 100%.

1. Remote Work Options: 83.21%

Empowering employees to work from anywhere not only enhances flexibility but also broadens the talent pool for studios, allowing them to hire the best without geographical limitations. Ourselves, operating fully remotely from the very beginning (and being recognized by Forbes as the top company for remote job), can vouch for that model!

2. Flexible Working Hours: 69.4%

This perk caters to employees’ varied personal schedules and commitments, promoting a work-life balance that boosts productivity and job satisfaction. All in all, in the end it’s about the job being done, isn’t it?

3. Paid Time Off (PTO): 67.8%

While many countries have mandatory PTO laws, it’s not universal, and in places where it isn’t regulated, generous PTO policies can significantly differentiate an employer. Additionally, there’s a growing trend towards offering unlimited PTO, which some companies are adopting as a way to give employees more control over their work-life balance and to signal trust in their team’s time management. This approach is currently under evaluation by various firms to measure its impact on productivity and employee satisfaction.

4. Health Insurance: 63.6%

A fundamental benefit, providing comprehensive health coverage ensures employees can access medical care when needed, without financial stress.

5. Company Events and Retreats: 45.8%

These are great for team bonding and morale, helping to foster a tight-knit community within the company. As a fully remote team, we can recommend not only in-person gatherings, but also regular online meetups focused on team building. For example, we at 8Bit meet every week for an hour to play games together.

6. Gym Memberships: 35.1%

Supporting physical health, gym memberships are a popular benefit that employees appreciate for staying fit and active.

7. Professional Development and Training Opportunities: 33.6%

Investing in employees’ growth not only enhances their skills but also their loyalty to the company. It’s worth adding, that one of our respondents mentioned they receive “5 days per year for learning” as an employee benefit.

8. Mental Health Support Programs: 28.2%

With growing awareness of mental health, offering support programs reflects a company’s commitment to its employees’ overall well-being.

9. Retirement Savings Plan: 26%

Encouraging financial security for the future, these plans are essential for long-term employee retention.

10. Employee Wellness Programs: 24.2%

These programs often include activities like yoga, meditation, and workshops that help reduce workplace stress and improve mental health.

11. Meal or Food Allowances: 22.7%

Subsidized meals or food allowances are a daily delight that can significantly enhance staff morale and productivity.

12. Life Insurance and Disability Coverage: 18.7%

Providing peace of mind for employees, these benefits ensure financial protection against unforeseen events.

13. Equity or Stock Options: 17.7%

Aligning the interests of employees with those of the company, stock options make employees not just workers, but part owners. An interesting employee benefit shared by one of the respondents was also a crypto token package.

14. Employee Discount Programs: 16.9%

These programs offer savings on various products and services, adding everyday value to employees’ lives.

15. Transportation or Commuting Benefits: 13.5%

Whether it’s a transit pass or a parking space, helping employees with their daily commute can greatly ease their logistical worries.

16. Pet-Friendly Policies and/or Pet Care Support: 13.1%

Allowing pets at work or supporting pet care resonates deeply with our team. It’s not just a policy, it’s a gesture that recognizes the importance of our furry friends in our lives. Here you can check the list of our pet-friendly company initiatives.

17. Work-Life Balance Programs: 11.4%

Crucial for maintaining employee satisfaction and productivity. Studios are increasingly implementing wellness activities that help employees manage their personal and professional lives more effectively.

18. Sabbatical Leave: 9.4%

Sabbaticals are not just for academics anymore. More game studios are recognizing the benefits of offering extended leaves—not only for personal development but also as a way to retain talent. Employees return refreshed and often with new perspectives that enhance their work.

19. Childcare Assistance: 6.7%

With the increasing participation of dual-income households in the workforce, childcare assistance is becoming a sought-after benefit. This support can range from on-site childcare services to subsidies or partnerships with local childcare providers.

20. Tuition Reimbursement: 5.3%

This benefit is aimed at fostering employee development by covering costs for further education. It’s an investment in the workforce that not only helps with employee retention but also ensures that the team’s skills remain on the cutting edge.

21. Mental Health Leave: 3%

As awareness of mental health increases, more companies are recognizing the importance of providing specific leave for mental health issues. Another type of specific leave, mentioned by several respondents, is menstrual leave.

Employee Benefits and Perks: How to Choose the Right Ones?

“High employee engagement drives business success. A crucial factor in nurturing this engagement is ensuring optimal working conditions, which can be supported through a variety of benefits. The key lies in offering employees the flexibility to choose benefits that align with their diverse needs and preferences. While one person might prioritize access to a gym membership, another might prefer a voucher to the cinema. Imposing chosen benefits, such as a sports membership or healthcare cards, could cause some employees to feel as though they’re not receiving a fair share if they don’t utilize these benefits.

One potential solution to this challenge of diverse preferences is giving employees access to a benefits platform, where the employer assigns funds for employees to allocate toward their preferred benefits.” – said Anna Hawrył, HR Business Partner (ex-GOG, 11Bit Studios and Huuuge Games), commenting the survey results in the Gamedev Salary Pulse.

Are Employee Benefits and Perks Mandatory?

Employee benefits and perks are not mandatory by law, but they play a crucial role in employee engagement and satisfaction. In our survey, several respondents indicated receiving no benefits at all, labeling their responses as “None” or “I receive nothing.” These comments often came from individuals expressing dissatisfaction and disengagement with their roles. We strongly advise game studios to implement a benefits and perks program. Using employer’s market as an excuse to rely solely on salary and expect gratitude in return is short-sighted, especially considering market dynamics. The economic landscape will inevitably change, and game studios that invest in their teams now will be better positioned in the future.

Is it Okay to Reduce Employee Benefits and Perks to Avoid Layoffs?

If economic challenges force your studio to reduce employee benefits and perks as a measure to avoid layoffs, transparent and straightforward communication becomes essential. It’s important to openly discuss these decisions with your team to maintain engagement and trust. Explaining the reasons behind benefit reductions and how they help preserve jobs can foster understanding and solidarity among employees during tough times.