We’ve written before on Gadgette about why the games industry needs to do more to recruit women. It’s not good for an industry that has a large female consumer base to be dominated by men; the absence of a female perspective in the development process is more likely to lead to the creation of games with more of a male audience in mind and poorly represented or objectified female characters, leaving the large female player base alienated and unsatisfied. Only through having diverse development teams can we be sure of creating games that satisfy and represent a wider base of players.
It’s unfortunate, then, that the most recent Creative Skillset Employment Survey has found that the games industry still has the lowest number of women in employment compared to every other Creative Sector industry.
The picture for the games industry as a whole is a positive one; it’s had a massive growth in employment figures since the last survey in 2012, going from 5,500 people to 10,300. Sadly, despite this massive growth women are still poorly represented. The survey shows that in 2015 women only made up 19% of the total games industry workforce, which is just under 2000 women in an industry of 10,300.
As proportional representation goes this isn’t great, but it looks even worse when compared to the other Creative Sector industries because absolutely all of them had a better gender balance. The next lowest was VFX with 26% of its workforce being women, but the numbers went as high as 46% in radio and averaged at 43% across the various sectors in television.
When it came to Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation, the games industry was more in line with the rest, but this isn’t a good thing as they all had disappointing figures. A tiny 4% of games industry employees are from BAME groups, which put it just ahead of animation with 3%. Television had the highest representation but even that was a paltry 9.7% and the sector average was 7%.
The good news is that the representation of women in the UK games industry, though low, has been exponentially rising since 2009, going from a tiny 6% in that year to 14% in 2012 and now, at 19%, the number of women in the industry is at its highest recorded level since 2004.