I’m reading through the latest digital edition of Game Developer Magazine which contains their annual survey. The salary numbers overall weren’t concerning to me, until I scrolled down and saw the differences between the male and female survey respondents. The next time someone tells me that men and women get paid equally for their talents in the game industry, I wanted something to link to them. This is just plain disgusting.
This isn’t so bad right? Female programmers are currently making 4.5% more annually than male programmers. However, considering they only make up 4% of the entire field of programmers in the game industry, companies are probably paying them more to retain them. I’m glad to see the few lady programmers we have in games aren’t underpaid.
However, expect things to get more grim.
Male artists make 29% more per year than female artists in the game industry. Women represent 16% of the game industry’s artists, which is sadly a pretty decent number.
Male game designers make 23.6% more annually than female game designers, and men comprise 89% of the game industry’s designers.
The producer field doesn’t look so terrible. It has the highest percentage of female representation at 23%. Women still are underpaid compared to men though: 8.3% less.
Audio development is completely dominated by men. 96% of audio developers are male, and they make a whopping 65% more than women.
It’s starting to get a big redundant, but here you can see that men make 24.9% more than women per year in QA.
Finally, in business and legal we see that men make 31% more than women. This is a broad field that includes Community Management, CEOs, HR, IT, and admin. I suspect part of this discrepancy in wage is that HR, admin, and community management have a lot of female representation anecdotally while upper management is dominated by men at most game companies.
I’m sure there are more details that might make these numbers less damning. For example, we all know that games have been long dominated by men and the industry is taking small steps to change that. As a result, many of the women who answered the survey might be new to the game industry, might not be in as senior of roles as the men who responded. However, I don’t think this changes the fact that we need to recruit and encourage more women at all levels of every organization — and we’re failing to do so.
Leadership: look at your organization. Compare the salaries of the women to the men who work at your company, and align their salaries. If all of your women are junior, evaluate them. How long have they been junior? Are they deserving of an increase in role, capabilities, and salary? If you don’t have many women in various departments, recruit them. Make an effort to keep your space positive and encouraging for women. Consider that raising women up in your company means for more mentors in our industry for the young women who might be interested in working in games. These numbers are disgusting and we see them year after year. Who is out there working to change it? Every studio should be proactive in solving this, because with numbers like these — why would women want to work in games?
These images are all from the April 2013 issue of Game Developer Magazine.