2009 Game Developer Magazine Salary Survey

The cover of the Game Developer magazine, showing four men and one woman standing in line in various clothing.

The April edition of the Game Developer magazine is out, and with it comes the awaited results of their 2009 salary survey.  This is always a fun time to compare your salary with that of the rest of the industry.  It’s not just salary information though, there is also some demographic information that comes along with the article.  Here’s a quick look at the numbers for females vs. males in the gaming industry in 2009.

None of this is really all that surprising.  It’s easy to see that the gaming industry is still very much a male-dominated field, and that in most cases they make a significantly higher annual salary than their female counterparts.  With only 5% of programmers being female, I’m not sure their higher salary is to be taken into account due to statistical significance, but it is interesting that female audio developers are paid more than men on average.    Business and Legal being 25% female is also not surprising, because this includes Marketing, Community Managers, and Human Resources; three departments that often employ women rather regularly.


95% male, avg. salary $80,128
5% female, avg. salary $84,062

Artists and Animators:

92% male, avg. salary $72,500
8% female, avg. salary $51,071

Game Designers:

92% male, avg. salary $69,790
8% female, avg. salary $62,500


82% male, avg. salary $75,950
18% female, avg. salary $71,136

Audio Developers:

88% male, avg. salary $81,184
12% female, avg. salary $87,500

QA Testers:

89% male, avg. salary $37,803
11% female, avg. salary $38,750

Business and Legal:

75% male, avg. salary $100,192
25% female, avg. salary $85,227

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
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5 Responses to 2009 Game Developer Magazine Salary Survey

  1. SG_01 says:

    I personally think we need more female programmers ^^ And man, I wish I earned anywhere near 80 grand :(

  2. The Amazing Kim says:

    I suppose this is all US numbers? I got a bit excited there at the “$62,500″ there, but that’s probably not realistic for someone living in the antipodes. I think we get paid in the admiration of our peers and the dreams of young children *snort*

    The pay gap is still shameful though. What can a lady do except be forceful in job interview pay negotiations (thus making her less attractive as a candidate)?

  3. A 30% pay gap for artists and animators?! Considering the only comparable pay gap is in business and legal, where as you said, women are shunted into lower paying positions, I’d like to hear the thinking on such a large pay disparity for art. Is there some sort of lower paying artistic scutwork that women are being saddled with?

    Interesting also that the customer service portion of the industry isn’t covered under the salary considerations, unless that’s folded into QA Testing.

  4. Lake Desire says:

    Wow even game testers make more than I hope to as an adjunct college professor when I finish grad school. Why am I in academia again?

  5. Beth says:

    @Godless Heathen, I can’t state for all Customer Service, but I have been in Customer Support for a year now and I get paid ~$30k. I went to school for art though so I plan to get into level design or art production when an opportunity arises on the east coast (hopefully at the company I am at now)

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