Following MCV’s first Women of the Year awards, some of the companies involved in last week’s event share their thoughts on the issue of women within the games industry.
Paul Sulyok, Green Man Gaming
When a gamer signs up to Green Man Gaming, we don’t ask for any information regarding their gender, because we don’t need to know that information in order to talk to them about or sell them games. Every customer is of value to us and when we engage with our audience, we never define them as male or female, but simply as gamer.
Just as gender shouldn’t be a factor when dealing with customers, so should it have little to do with promoting or recruiting new talent in the industry, however, we should acknowledge that there is still work to do to encourage a greater number of women to discover and apply for a range of positions within the industry, and that is why we’re supporting the Top 100 UK Women in Games.
I, and everyone at Green Man Gaming recognises the importance of inclusion and diversity for all within every aspect of the industry. We’re proud that 31 per cent of the Green Team is female and every member of my team was recruited on the strength of his or her incredible skills and attitude over their gender.
It’s great to see a wide variety of roles from marketing and PR, finance and fraud, development and design, all represented in the Top 100. My hope is that this list serves as a reminder to the industry that collectively we must do more to create a level playing field not only in elevating women into key roles, but in recognising and celebrating the wide diversity of talent that the UK excels in, and shows us a proactive leaders to the rest of the world.
If the special edition of Women in Games Top 100 list can not only empower women but can also be used an example to young people considering the next steps in their career, I’m positive the growth, development, and impact of the UK games industry on a world wide scale would be unrivalled.
Congratulations to everyone on the list.
Lis Naylor, Lis Welsh Search and Selection
Sixteen percent. Let me say that again. S-i-x-t-e-e-n p-e-r-c-e-n-t. That’s the current estimate of how many women make up the games industry, an industry that has recently been reported as being worth nearly£4bn. Sixteen percent. At the recent Women in Games event I got to meet some amazing female marketers, HR specialists, business and industry leaders, developers and everything in between. Most, if not all, roles that you can think of within this industry of ours have a female contingent.
But it’s still, in my opinion, very low. Back in the bad old days of the late 80s and very early 90s there weren’t a lot of us gals around. It was a male dominated industry that had sprung up from the days of eight-bit and 16-bit home computers which were, by and large, owned by boys. And these boys liked playing boys video games. And who knew how to best market to boys? Other boys. I think back to the ad campaign for titles like Barbarian (you remember the one, and if you don’t – Google it!) and I cringe. We’re definitely in a much better place now! But we’re still not approaching parity with regards to an even gender split within the workforce and I have a theory on, perhaps, why that is.
If the best and most highly qualified talent that you want to place within an organisation is female then you have to think about things a little differently. What is the work life balance? How does your organisation help the people who may also be mothers of young children? Is the industry getting it right, or are we simply adopting a ‘one size fits all’ mentality and missing out on bringing in more fantastic females into the industry because we haven’t considered the bigger picture? Have you thought about the implications of asking your potential new hire, if they’re a mum, of being at her desk for 9:30am and working through until 6pm? As an industry, we still (in some areas at least) seem to hold an old fashioned attitude towards the desk – if people aren’t sat at one within the organisations office then they’re not being effective. In this day and age that’s a greatly outmoded way of thinking.
The outside world still sees us as male dominated, and it doesn’t always see the great work that the women of the industry are doing. It was shocking to read the recent MCV salary survey that highlighted that there was close to a 24 per cent difference in average pay between male and female workers in our industry. Why? There can surely be no good reason for it. And seeing that kind of statistic is hardly going to have the top female talent from outside beating down our doors in order to work with us, which means that the balance remains unbalanced and the salary gap will widen which means…well, it means a feedback loop that is not going to end well. The Women in Games awards was the first step towards shouting about the great work that we do, but I want to be able to shout louder, and for longer, in order to make other industries see that we’re leaders and are really making huge efforts towards changing things, and getting our house in order. Many congratulations to the very worthy winners of the 2014 Women of the Year awards.