Gender diversity in the games industry

Article written by Andy Turton, Director of X4 Technology.

The gaming industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK and is valued at £5.7 billion. The video games sector now accounts for more than half of the UK’s entire entertainment market and the global software market forecasted to reach $180.1 billion by the end of 2021.

While this ever-growing industry is booming, there is a lack of diversity when it comes to the workforce. A recent report by the University of Sheffield, highlighted that just 28% of the UK workforce and roughly 20% of the worldwide workforce are female. It also underlines that two-thirds of those working in gaming are aged under 35 and just 10% are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

A lack of representation in the games themselves, the advertising of the games and role models in the industry, are all probable reasons why women are less likely to pursue a career in this industry. But for the UK gaming industry to continue to grow, diversity must be at the forefront of their teams.

The report did highlight certain career paths that are more evenly-balanced, such as writing where 55% are male, project management 58% male and business operations 58% male. This shows that there is progress in areas of the industry, however there were no roles with a higher percentage of women, and jobs such as programming (87% male), IT (83% male) and senior positions were a much higher percentage of males.

Ukie, the games and interactive entertainment industry trade body, has launched the ‘Raise the Game,’ a pledge to improve diversity and inclusion in the industry by aiming to have 200 gaming companies signed up by 2021.

The pledge has already gathered a lot of support and companies that sign up are encouraged to introduce 3 new practices:

  1. Create a diverse workforce by recruiting fairly
  2. Educate and inspire people to take more personal responsibility for fostering and promoting diversity
  3. Reflect greater diversity at every level of business

Steps are being taking to increase gender diversity in the gaming industry and I am really interested in talking to business owners in the industry to find out about what steps you are taking to encourage diversity, as well as professionals, to hear your experiences and thoughts on what can be done to encourage more women to pursue careers in gaming.

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