Women in game audio earn less than men

Female audio experts need 2.15 years of experience to make up the pay difference – but will never catch up to male colleagues
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A new study has revealed a significant discrepancy between the incomes for men and women working in video games audio.

The 2016 Game Audio Industry Survey, carried out by the organisers of GameSoundCon, shows that the average income for male composers and sound designers was consistently higher than those of their female equivalents.

The survey reported a higher number of female participants, with women making up 10.4 per cent of all respondents – an increase on last year’s seven per cent, and 3.5 per cent in 2014. 

While it was recognised that incomes increase the longer you work in the games industry, the gap does not seem to close between experienced female and male audio experts.

“There is sufficient evidence to determine that gender has a correlation with total [game audio] income earned,” said professional statistician Dr Mary Siegrist. 

“Females earn less than males regardless of the length of time working in the game industry. The cost of being female is 2.15 years of experience, i.e. women need that many more years in the industry to make up the difference in pay. However, females never do catch up to males."

The findings are in keeping with similar studies, such as our own annual Develop Salary Survey, which regularly finds that women earn less than men. However, our 2016 survey found the pay gap was closing.

The Game Audio survey findings will be further discussed at GameSoundCon in Los Angeles next month.

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