Here’s the good news: 50 per cent of the UK’s population plays games - and this figure rises to 99 per cent among 8-15 year-olds. The even better news is that we are actively educating our up and coming workforce in order for them to join our growing games industry. There are now over 60 UK universities providing Undergraduate and Masters degrees in games development (source Ukie).
All positives so far, but in order to reflect the real world, we need to increase the number of women coming into the games industry itself. Because the latest figures from TIGA show that just 14% of people working in the UK games industry are women.
So why am I taking time to comment on this? I have worked within the games industry since November 1986, always within the commercial sector, running sales teams, account managing, business development.
I have had - and continue to have - a brilliant and fulfilling career that has taken me all over the world, working with the most amazing, creative and thought-provoking people. I want this opportunity to be open to all. Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be the case right now. While the number of women coming into the industry is growing, the ratio of female to male employees in this business is still much lower than that in the general workplace. That needs to change.
Testronic has embraced the Women In Games initiative and we have recently become ambassadors of this important venture. We are working to encourage more women to join our company at all entry levels.
How are we doing this? Firstly by ensuring we are creating a workplace that is welcoming to women – much work is being done by our HR department to create what women want from an employer in our London and Warsaw centres. We are actively reaching out to schools and universities to make women aware of the differing roles we have available and the qualifications and attributes that are needed to successfully carve out a career - from testing to linguistic, customer service, commercial roles plus many more.
Currently 40 per cent of our senior management team based out of London and Warsaw are female. In addition, 14 per cent of our FQA (functionality testing) team are women. We find that linguistic testing is favoured by women, 42 per cent of the localisation QA team are female - and we are actively recruiting more female testers. But we still have work to do.
I know from experience that the games industry is a brilliant, innovative and vibrant place to be and I want to open this up to as many women as possible. The work begins within schools to make girls aware that the games industry wants and needs more females.
Our trade bodies are making inroads in terms of highlighting the games sector as an attractive environment for women. But more practical help is required from the industry itself. Could you and your company be doing more to support the effort?
Join us, support Women in Games, and together we can ensure more women are empowered to make a decision to join us and see how open, nurturing and supportive our industry can be.