The esports industry is growing fast, and the number of jobs available grew by 87% in 2019, according to a survey by esports jobs website Hitmarker. It said that the number of available esports jobs rose from 5,896 in 2018 to 11,027 in 2019. This represented an 87.03% increase in global hiring activity.

The work is interesting to me as it captures the profile of a job market that didn’t exist a decade ago. And it helps give would-be esports stars and workers a more realistic picture of how to establish a career in esports. It’s not a perfect measure, as it’s easier to track advertised jobs than it is to report positions filled, but it’s a safe bet that many jobs are filled in such a fast-growing market.

Paid esports jobs helped drive this growth.  The number of paid esports opportunities increased from 4,591 to 9,705 from 2018 to 2019, an upturn of 111.39%. Paid openings also saw a proportional rise of 10.14%, from 77.87% of the total in 2018 to 88.01% in 2019.

The U.S. was home to more than half of all esports jobs U.S.-based esports openings saw a proportional growth of 10.35%, from 46.01% of the total in 2018 to 56.36% of the total in 2019. There were 2,713 listings from the U.S. in 2018 and 6,215 in 2019, an overall increase of 129.08%.

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Two years of data

Hitmaker managing director Rich Huggan said in a statement this is the first time the company has been able to compare sets of data from two full calendar years and the overall picture is hugely positive, with a significant increase in 2019 in paid opportunities.

The next most active hiring country was the United Kingdom, which posted 677 jobs last year to claim 6.14% of the growth, compared to 422 in 2018, when it was responsible for 7.16%. This was a proportional decrease of 1.02%.

Regional leaders

Canada followed in third, being responsible for 470 opportunities in 2019 to take a 4.26% share of the total, compared to just 164 in 2018 when it made up 2.78%. This was a proportional gain of 1.48%.

California further enhanced its dominance of the esports jobs market The Golden State had a 63.44% share of all U.S.-based esports opportunities in 2019 with 3,943, a proportional growth of 5.45% on its 57.99% share in 2018 when it advertised 3,419 vacancies.

Above: Esports job hunters in 2019.

Image Credit: Hitmarker

Washington state followed in second with 418 roles advertised for 6.73% of the share in 2019, up 0.32% on the 6.41% it had in 2018 when it hosted 378 listings.

New York state was the third-largest market with 366 openings published for 5.89% of the share in 2019, a drop of 1.44% on the 7.33% it had in 2018 when it posted 432 jobs.

Active companies

Twitch was by far the most active hiring company in esports. Twitch advertised 1,334 esports jobs in 2019, an enormous 12.10% of all publicly available opportunities. This was a huge proportional growth of 10.47% compared to the 96 esports roles it published in 2018 for 1.63% of the share. ​(It’s worth noting that a change to Twitch’s job descriptions early in the year was a huge factor here, though).

Riot Games followed in second place by posting 757 openings for a 6.86% share of the total in 2019, a proportional increase of 3.79% over 2018 when it posted just 181 vacancies for a share of 3.07%.

Epic Games was the third most-active hiring company in esports in 2019 thanks to listing 373 roles for hire, taking 3.38% of the total share. This was a proportional gain of 0.95% over 2018 when it advertised just 143 for a share of 2.43%.

Women’s participation in the esports job hunt continued to increase last year. The esports hiring process was still dominated by males in 2019, though the proportion of women participating in the job hunt increased to 15.63% from 14.04% in 2018, an upturn of 1.59%. At this rate of change, it will take just under 22 years for women to achieve 50/50 parity with their male counterparts in the esports job search, however.

Above: Esports jobs available in 2019.

Image Credit: Hitmarker

Full-time salaried contracts are the fastest-growing type available on Hitmarker and now account for over 75% of all listings on our website.

Software leads the way

Software engineers are as in-demand in the esports industry as they are in seemingly all others, with an enormous uptick in companies looking for developers and engineers from 2018 to 2019. We’re seeing more and more of the jobs found in other tech-driven industries being posted to our platform as the overall market grows, which bodes well for the future.

There are some areas of concern, though. While good for the U.S. — and California in particular — it’s clear that its domination of the esports jobs market is only growing, with the U.K., Canada, and Germany lagging far behind in terms of jobs advertised. However, we feel it should be noted that greatly increased hiring activity and more esports focused job descriptions from Twitch — particularly in the San Francisco area — were largely behind the USA’s increase in 2019.

Hitmarker is tracking around 500,000 esports job seekers. Hitmarker had anticipated that female job hunters would make up closer to 20% than 15% of the proportion of the total by the end of last year, but unfortunately, this did not prove to be the case, the company said.

Jobs requiring less than two years of professional experience made up less than 30% of the total available on Hitmarker in 2019, with jobs requiring less than a year making up less than 10%.