Improve education to ease skills shortages and promote workforce diversity, says Tiga

June 19th 2008

Immediate release

Tiga said today that while greater workforce diversity in the games industry was important, improvements in the UK’s education system were equally crucial.

Tiga’s comments come in response to remarks made by Chris Satchell, General Manager and Chief XNA Architect of the XNA Group at Microsoft Corp, at the Games Horizon Conference 2008 about the need for greater diversity in the games industry’s workforce. The comments come also in response to concerns about skills shortages raised by the Games Up? campaign.

Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, said:

“The games industry’s workforce is relatively homogenous. Skillset, the sector skill council for the creative industries, estimates that of the electronic games workforce 8% are women, 3% are from ethnic minorities, few are disabled and the majority are aged 34 or below.

“Games developers want to recruit and retain the best teams available, irrespective of their backgrounds. Developers know that a more diverse workforce could enable them to create games that appeal to different audiences and so potentially expand their businesses.

“Developers also recognise that efforts to recruit from a more diverse pool of candidates could help to ease skills shortages. For example, the potential to recruit more women into the games industry in the future is significant. Girls already outperform boys in mathematics at GCSE level– one of the foundations for studying subjects vital to employment in the games industry.

“Games developers need an increase in the supply of mathematics and science graduates to meet their skill needs. This in turn means that primary and secondary schools need to enable more pupils to achieve higher levels of attainment in mathematics and the sciences at GCSE and at A level. Yet Ofsted reported this week that students are increasingly abandoning sciences at A level in favour of‘softer’ subjects.

“The provision of more good quality teachers is crucially important if we are to reverse this trend. Regrettably only 40% of trainee teachers in mathematics and computing have good degrees (i.e. 2:1 or above).

“The Government must improve standards in education amongst all groups in society so that games developers can recruit as widely as possible.”

Notes to editors

1. Tiga is the national trade association that represents games developers in the UK and in Europe. We have 155 members, the majority of whom are games developers, but we also have outsourcing companies and technology businesses as members who provide services to games developers. Tiga’s vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business.

2. As yet there is no precise classification for games development. The category‘electronic games’ encompasses workers who are employed in areas beyond just games development. See http://skillset.org/games/overview/people/article_4379_1.asp

3. For the proportion of trainee teachers with‘good’ degrees, see the Centre for Education and Employment Research, University of Buckingham. See also The Economist August 25th 2007.

4. On the decline of pupils taking hard science subjects see“Ofsted rings alarm bell on sciences”, Financial Times, June 17th 2008.

5. For further information, please contact: Dr Richard Wilson, Tiga CEO on: 0845 0941095; Mob: 07875 939643; or: Email: richard.wilson@tiga.org.


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