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Survey: Only 4% of UK game industry staff are female

Wednesday, 8th September 2010 18:43 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

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According to a report from the British Sociological Association, the number of females employed in the UK videogame industry dropped from 12 percent in 2006 to 4 percent in 2009.

The decline was noted in game animation, coding, design, engineering, marketing and HR.

The report comes from a survey conducted by University Of Liverpool PhD student Julie Prescott, who attributed the decline to “long hours in the games business”.

Per the survey’s findings, 43 percent of 457 women surveyed claimed the amount of time at work made a negative impact on their well-being, with 32 percent reporting an excess of 45 hours worked per week.

Another 22 percent reported they worked between 46 and 55 hours each week, while 10 percent claimed to have worked over 56 hours as a normal work week.

“Reasons given for intending to leave the industry tended to suggest women are dissatisfied with their organizations and working environment,” noted Prescott in her study.

“Flexible working practices would not only improve the image of the industry as a family-friendly working environment, but could also assist in retaining more women, especially women with or considering having children.

“Changing workplace structures, as well as improving childcare provisions would enable both genders to have active careers.”

The survey concluded the negative impact had less to do with child-rearing, though, as 21 percent had children compared to the 79 percent who didn’t. Also, 69 percent polled were under the age of 35.

Females with degrees in their field came in at 35 percent, compared to TIGA’s 2009 finding claiming the number of developer degrees to be at 60 percent.

Prescott’s report didn’t touch on why the original figure was only at 12 percent, but it also discussed “skills shortages, work life balance and flexible working” in the games industry context, while touching upon “how gender disparities persist despite the industry in question being a new industry”.

Via GI.biz.

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22 Comments

  1. DarkElfa

    I’ve been trying to think of something informed, funny or just smart ass to say about this but I got nothin’.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Hunam

    The industry is slightly bizarre in that respect. I’ve done 72 hour weeks before and up to 21 days without having a day off, but that was my choice to push myself that far because I honestly care about the product. Maybe it’s just the way men are that they define themselves by their work and kill themselves to do it, where many women may not and want to lead a more rounded work/life split.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. evilashchris

    That’s terrible.

    Who gets the coffee?

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Stephany Nunneley

    Maybe if they game women the respect they deserved, like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS2UsjBufqE … it would be a non-issue :D :D

    #4 4 years ago
  5. spiderLAW

    @3
    I was wondering the same exact thing. That, and who picks up the dry cleaning?

    #5 4 years ago
  6. spiderLAW

    @ Steph
    Slow down friend.
    ” Maybe if they game women the respect they deserved, like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS2UsjBufqE … it would be a non-issue ” – Maybe if they gave*

    #6 4 years ago
  7. G1GAHURTZ

    @2:

    I think that’s probably less to do with being male or female and more to do with the bad planning and naive production methods that plague the industry.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. DaMan

    Hunam, a bit sexist there; that’s quite a generalization ;)

    #8 4 years ago
  9. CenoBit

    Sad, but true.
    There are stereotypes in some industries (women->fashion, men-> gaming) and they’re there for a reason: it’s not until recently that women realised that playing a game:
    a)doesn’t make you a geek
    b)can be quite fun and as enjoyable as watching a good movie
    c)playing “farmville” is not what one would call “playing a game”.

    I, for one, think that more women in the industry would be a great idea. As much as I have loved man-made games in the past (e.g. Lula 3D :p) I think that a woman’s touch in stories, visuals and characters, could really improve things.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Stephany Nunneley

    @6 – Shows where my brain is doesn’t it? I will leave it as is for future reference :D

    #10 4 years ago
  11. DaMan

    you don’t need to like playing videogames to work on them. unless you want to be a tester.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Hunam

    I didn’t mean to sound sexist, I was just musing a possible reason based on the facts presented in the article.

    @11

    Trust me, you don’t even need to like them to test them :P

    #12 4 years ago
  13. NinjaMidget

    @11 you might not need to like them, but it helps a hell of a lot more if you do!

    #13 4 years ago
  14. DaMan

    depends on the individual, I ‘d say more like it helps the company you’re working for ;)

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Hunam

    Not really. There are so many things we as gamers just accept in our games instead of questioning odd mechanics that crop up over and over.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. DaMan

    I thought we were talking about people who work on them, not the ones who play.

    I meant it doesn’t help you in any real way ( unless you need such a kind of er, inspiration ) . surely it is better for the consumers as well, more so when it comes to game design.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. G1GAHURTZ

    I know people who’ve worked on games whilst openly confessing a complete dislike of both the game and it’s theme/content.

    They did their job to what they percieved to be the required standard, and not much more.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. DaMan

    well, like I was saying it depends on the individual. I for one think it has more (sometimes everything) to do with the person themselves, my point was originally that it’s a very different thing to make the stuff as opposed to consume it.

    tbh I for one do believe it has everything to do with how deeply you enjoy your er, profession. also, say some people enjoy coding graphics and other like doing game logic. I do believe things like those are more important than something like overall theme, see what I mean.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Crysis

    1/25 are woman, that’s pretty low, but not incredibly surprising, just does not sound like something a woman would generally prefer to do, not trying to sound sexist, but i would think much more men love gaming more than woman, hence more would be in the field of game development

    #19 4 years ago
  20. frostquake

    The Reason is simply this, WOMEN are SMART and MEN are STUPID!!
    Who would be DUMB enough to work for years on something where you are treated horribly and stupid from your superiors, No Job Security, give up all your family time to be in the office 24/7, sleep on a crusty old couch in shifts while developing a game, missing the birth of you child, missing birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and yes even sometimes the death of a family to develop a STUPID game for someone that is going to likely make them a TON of money and you literally are underpaid and more then likely are let go or fired at the end of a 3-4 year development cycle, and if you were lucky enough to secure those overpriced Health and Dental Plans, you loose them when you are let go!! Only to have to scramble to try and find another job before your kicked out of your House or Apartment for not paying your mortgage or rent…to only go find another game development job that will repeat the whole viscous cycle over again!!

    ONLY MEN would be DUMB enough to do this once and then EVEN DUMBER to do it again, but we do. Men tend to look at the short term gain, and throw caution to the wind.

    Women on the other hand tend to be smart in this department, looking at long term prospects and security and stability.

    So if anything, I think this report makes Women look SMART!!

    And this coming from a STUPID man who did the same Stupid thing over and over till I realized it wasn’t worth all the crap every 3-4 years!!!

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Crysis

    @20, do you work in the industry or is this all guess work?

    #21 4 years ago
  22. frostquake

    Edit: Wife got mad for posting private stuff..so I pulled it..So the answer is yes, used to!

    #22 4 years ago

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