Every month, in partnership with Amiqus, we support and promote companies that champion diversity. This month, Amiqus’ Liz Prince discusses how the industry can expand the talent pipeline in order to become a more diverse and inclusive environment.
When I think about practical steps we can all take to build more gender diverse and inclusive workplaces in games, I put the focus on activities in four key areas – attraction, selection, development and retention of women. Each is as important as the next and through this column we hope to provide some guidance across all disciplines, starting this month with attraction.
At our G Into Gaming event at Codemasters earlier this year, part of the discussion was about the recruitment pipeline, the timeline in which talent could impact the industry workforce and the opportunity at each stage to positively influence gender balance.
To build a broader and longer term pipeline we need to work together on initiatives to engage with and attract potential talent in some key areas such as people working outside of games who have relevant skills in other sectors, young people prior to moving into further education and school age children choosing subject options.
Engagement in these talent pools would enable us to build the pipeline, respectively, for 12 to 24 months, three to five years and ten to 15 years ahead.
It’s worth highlighting a report from Accenture published last year which revealed that although 84 per cent of young people in the UK believe that many jobs in the future will involve science, technology, engineering and mathematics — known as STEM — UK girls believe that STEM jobs lack the creativity they seek in their careers. The study also suggested that 60 per cent of girls aged 14 or over wish they had studied STEM subjects for longer, with around 30 per cent of those ultimately realising that they had limited their career choices.
Clearly, there is a job to be done here in talking to younger girls about the options they have in the games industry. And we need to talk to them before they make choices about what subjects they pursue. Leaving it until they reach university is far too late.
So what can the industry do?
Every studio can take positive action to open their doors to show students – particularly young women – what a career in games actually looks like. Hosting open days for these students to show that working in games is great, that the industry is inclusive and welcoming, will underline our collective efforts in attracting more diverse talent.
In the 2018 report, parents and teachers agreed that children need guidance from businesses to visualise the career options that STEM opens up, to make these subjects more appealing.
Large or small studios alike, we can all make connections with local schools and regularly invite a group of girls for a studio tour and a short talk. This has to be a consistent commitment, an investment in the future not only for your studio but for the industry as a whole. If every studio took the time, think how many girls could be seeing a games studio and igniting a passion for a career path in our industry!
The same is true of pre-university choices. There are lots of disappointed tutors when the relevant courses are so heavily biased towards males, and this will continue to happen until we all take time out for positive action.
Expanding our pipeline is possibly the most crucial element in the industry’s mission to be a more diverse and inclusive environment. The industry is an amazing, exciting, fun place to be. We need to ensure that our future employees – in particular, young women – know it.