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First ever UK Games Industry Census highlights need for more diversity

UKIE has launched the UK Games Industry Census to deliver a comprehensive assessment of diversity within the UK games industry.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

February 4, 2020

3 Min Read

UKIE has collaborated with the University of Sheffield and the University of Leeds to deliver the UK Games Industry Census, a first-of-its-kind report that aims to present a comprehensive assessment of diversity within the UK games industry. 

The census was completed by over 3,200 games industry employees (roughly 20 percent of the region's overall workforce) between September and October 2019, and used open and targeted recruitment methods to try and ensure a representative sample of people from across the sector. 

So, what did it find? For starters, the report suggests the UK workforce is "highly international," with 19 percent of staffers hailing from the EU/EEA, and another 9 percent heralding from the rest of the world. 

It adds that those international workers make up a third of core games production art and programming roles, and are more likely to take on senior, mid-level, and junior roles -- but feature less in managerial and director positions. 

The UK games sector also seems to be a rather youthful industry, with two thirds of employees being aged 35 or under. Yet, despite that, 54 percent of people in the industry have worked in the sector for five years or more. 

Highlighting a need for improvement in certain areas, it also found that only 10 percent of people working in games are Black, Asian, or minority ethnic (BAME). Although that figure is slightly higher than the national average, it's below the average in the working-age population. It also suggests that BAME workers are "noticeably less represented in senior positions." 

Offering a gender breakdown, the census notes that 70 percent of employees are male, compared to 28 percent female and 2 percent non-binary workers, adding that female representation is "significantly under the national average of those in work." 

In terms of education, it notes that 81 percent of workers are educated to at least undergraduate level, rising to 88 percent for core games production roles in art or programming. There's also a hint towards something of a class divide, with 12 percent of the UK workforce having attended an independent or fee-paying school. That's nearly double the national average of 7 percent.

Another big takeaway is that 21 percent of games workers are LGBTQ+, which other data sources suggest is a "significantly high proportion."

"At 2 percent, non-binary representation in the UK games industry workforce is higher than the national average, which is estimated at 0.4 percent," adds the report. "Trans people make up 3 percent of the games industry workforce, which again is above the estimated 1 percent within the national population." 

As well as releasing the census, which you can read in full here, UKIE also launched a brand new pledge called 'Raise The Game' to inspire the UK industry to improve equality, diversity, and inclusivity. 

UKIE hopes to have 200 UK game businesses signed up to the initiative by 2021, all of which will be encouraged to foster diversity and inclusion by recruiting fairly and widely, curating welcoming work environments through education, and using marketing and community engagement to reflect greater diversity at every level. 

You can learn more about Raise The Game, including how to take part, by clicking right here.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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