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A public database of what employers pay workers in the United Kingdom highlights a significant gap in what U.K. game companies pay men and women, a gap that is especially pronounced at Grand Theft Auto dev Rockstar North.
Specifically, in 2017 the average pay of women working at Rockstar North was 64 percent lower than the average pay of men at the company, while the median hourly rate of Rockstar women (the middle, rather than the average) was 31.8 percent lower than the same for men.
"In other words when comparing mean hourly rates, women earn 36p for every £1 that men earn," reads the Rockstar North entry in the database, which was specifically established by a 2010 law in order to publicize wage disparities.
This is a huge disparity, and Rockstar North actually published a public statement of explanation attributed to studio director Andrew Semple.
"While our male and female employees are fairly compensated based on merit and without reference to gender, our gender pay gap is driven primarily by the structure of our workforce," it reads. "With longer tenured employees who are predominately male occupying our most senior roles."
In a follow-up statement to Kotaku, a Rockstar rep added that "we are proactively working to decrease this disparity and we look forward to seeing representation of our female colleagues continue to grow in all roles and at all levels as we actively recruit, train and encourage women to pursue career opportunities at Rockstar North and within our industry."
Companies in the U.K. weren't required to provide yearly pay data for the database until April 5th, 2017, and they were given a deadline of April 5th, 2018. One can now peruse the database and find public pay and bonus pay data for a number of game companies, including Frontier Developments ("women’s mean hourly rate is 14.9% lower than men’s"), Electronic Arts ("women’s mean hourly rate is 13.7% lower than men’s"), and Jagex ("women’s mean hourly rate is 21.7% lower than men’s").
It's not all bad news, either; Future Publishing, which oversees a number of game enthusiast publications and is lumped in with a lot of game studios in the database's "information and communication" sector, reports it actually paid women on average 4.3 percent more per hour than men.