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The UK Games Industry Census Report

By Daniel Woods on 21/01/2020

UK games industry Diversity Census

RaiseTheGame aims to inspire games businesses to champion and foster diversity and inclusion within their organisations. To help them to do this, it’s important to have robust, reliable data about diversity in the wider sector.

Ukie and the University of Sheffield partnered on a Diversity Census, published in February 2020, which has gathered anonymised and aggregated data from over 3,200 people working in the UK games sector, creating one of the most extensive and authoritative analysis of the diversity of a national games industry’s workforce ever conducted.

The headlines below and the wider report will spark more conversations and help businesses and the wider sector to identify where new initiatives and activity should focus to drive meaningful change:

• The UK games industry workforce is highly international - 19% of workers are from the EU/EEA, and a further 9% from the rest of the world – with respondents listing 88 different countries as where they spent most of their time in childhood. International workers make up a third of core games production, art and programming roles and are more likely to work in senior, mid-level and junior roles in the industry, but feature less in managerial and directorial positions.

• The games sector is a young industry, with two thirds of people working in the sector aged 35 or under. But 54% of people in the industry have worked in the sector for five years or more.

• 10% of people working in games are Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME). This is a slightly higher percentage than in the national working population, and higher than both the overall creative industries and specific sectors such as music, publishing and film/TV. However, it is lower than the equivalent figure for IT and software, as well as below the average in the working-age population. While BAME workers can be found broadly equally in all job roles, with a small skew towards more non-sector specific roles, they are noticeably less represented in senior positions.

• 70% of people working in the games industry are male, compared to 28% female and 2% non-binary workers. Female representation in the workforce is significantly under the national average of those in work, as well as less than in cultural and creative roles more generally, but is similar to the proportion of women working in Film/TV, and above that of the general IT/software sector.

• Migration is a key factor of both ethnic and gender diversity; while 28% of the overall games workforce in general hold non-UK nationalities, this rises to 40% for BAME workers and 35% of female workers.

• 62% of the video games workforce come from households where the main earner worked in a managerial/professional role. This proportion is higher than every other creative sector aside from publishing and only lower than those found in roles such as doctors, lawyers and journalists. This ratio is still comparable to that of national broadcasters such as the BBC and Channel 4.

• 81% of the industry is educated to at least undergraduate level, rising to 88% for core games production roles in art or programming. This is considerably above the 57% average for the cultural and creative industries. 27% of workers hold a game-specific qualification, rising to over half of workers in games design and art roles. More commonly, workers have qualifications in STEM subjects at 31%, increasing to 60% for workers in programming roles.

• 12% of the industry workforce attended an independent or fee-paying school, which is nearly double the national average of 7%. This figure rises to 20% of the workforce amongst directors and CEOs.

• 21% of people working in games are LGBTQ+, while 79% are heterosexual. This is a significantly high proportion of LGBTQ+ workers, with other data sources indicating that heterosexual people make up between 93-97% of the national population. At 2%, non-binary representation in the UK games industry workforce is higher than the national average, which is estimated at 0.4%. Trans people make up 3% of the games industry workforce, which again is above the estimated 1% within the national population.

You can read the full UK Games Industry Census report here