UK Government Urges Gender Equality in Game Industry

During the Women in Games track of the Develop conference in Brighton this week the UK government voiced its concerns about the hiring practices of games industry when it comes to women. Speaking of inequality in hiring practices, Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister for Equalities, expressed concern that the UK industry hurts itself by not tapping into the pool of talent based on gender.

In the letter the Minister highlighted the importance of seeking a "greater gender balance in the workplace," and warns that some companies "risk being uncompetitive" if they fail to address the problem.

"It’s a problem for the industry as a whole, as organisations filled with people who look the same, sound the same and have the same life experiences can all too easily end up thinking the same," wrote the Minister.

"Diverse organisations reflect their customers better, are likely to understand them better and offer better products and services as a result. Companies that can’t see the value that women bring to the workplace are extremely short-sighted as they lose out on talent and skills of half the population.

"They risk being uncompetitive in a very fast-moving world by not being able to chose from all available employees. Equality is as good for businesses as it is for women and society."

On a related note, Dr. Richard Wilson, CEO of the UK trade group TIGA, issued a statement throwing its support behind the Minister’s comments, but also urged it to help the industry with various initiatives and programs that encourage women to follow a path leading to game development:

"The 2010 TIGA-Hewitt Games Software Developers’ Salary Survey shows that just 6.6 per cent of the workforce is female. This is an extraordinary gender imbalance. The video games industry would like to recruit a more diverse workforce. If we are to recruit a more diverse workforce then we need to encourage more women to both study courses relevant to the games industry and to highlight the career opportunities that exist in the sector. TIGA produces a career guide for this purpose. We hope that the Government will work with TIGA to champion the games industry as a potential career path."

About 15 per cent of T2G students are female. Approximately 10 per cent of students on a typical university games course are female. The proportion of HE graduates studying computer science in 2006/7 that were women was just over 17 per cent. Wilson added: “All games businesses must ensure that their selection and recruitment policies and practices promote equal opportunities and recruit on merit.

Source: GI.Biz. Thanks to Pete for the TIGA comments.

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