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IGDA: More women are making games, but men still dominate the industry

IGDA: More women are making games, but men still dominate the industry

June 24, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

A recent survey conducted by the International Game Developers Association sought to shed light on the current state of the game industry, and today the IGDA shared some results that suggest the gender diversity of the industry is improving, even as its members continue to struggle with work/life balance.

According to the results, 22 percent of respondents identified as women, 76 percent identified as men and 2 percent identified as transgender or "other", suggesting that the industry still has a long way to go before we can feasibly consider it a diverse field.

Still, the IGDA makes a point of highlighting that only 11.5 percent of respondents identified as female during a similar 2009 survey, suggesting that the percentage of women working in the industry has roughly doubled in the past five years.

That's a (very small) bit of good news for the industry, especially when you look back almost ten years to a 2005 IGDA survey that also suggested women represented roughly 11.5 percent of the industry workforce. Given that data, it seems the industry is moving to address at least some of its diversity issues, albeit slowly.

When it comes to compensation, almost fifty percent of developers who participated in the survey make less than $50k a year, while 19 percent make over $100k/year; the remaining 33 percent of developer respondents fall somewhere between the two.

Of course, the average respondent in the IGDA's survey has spent over nine years working in the game industry, with an average of four different employers in the past five years. Based on results from our own State of the Industry survey, it's likely that at least one of those stints was as an indie developer as the practice of self-funding and self-publishing becomes more prevalent.

61 percent of those surveyed by the IGDA said they plan to work in the field for the foreseeable future, but the majority of those who were thinking about leaving said they desired a "better quality of life."

The industry's persistent demand for crunch seem to be part of the problem; 54 percent of respondents said they believed "crunch time" was not a requisite part of game development, and many said they still felt pressured to work longer hours than were strictly required; 38 percent went on to claim they received no extra compensation for that overtime.

It's worth noting that the IGDA surveyed more than 2,200 developers in partnership with folks at the University of Western Ontario and the M2 Research organization, and the association plans to release more details from the survey in the near future.

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