According to an independent survey carried out by the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) and the Game Developers Association of Australia, 19% of those employed in the Australian games industry identify as female.
The survey also reveals how the industry takes diversity into account when making new hires.
Australian Games Industry is 19% Female – Survey
The results of the survey are based on the responses of 63 Australian games companies which either made $25,000 or more over the last year or chose to disclose financial information. According to a 2015 list made by GamesAid ambassador Bejamin Gifford, there are around 150 games studios in Australia, so although the survey may not be totally comprehensive, it does represent a significant portion of the local industry.
These companies employed 842 people in financial year 15-16, with 33% being programmers, 24% being artists and 20% in marketing, administration and management. 19% of the employees identify as female (approximately 160 employees), in comparison to the international games industry which is 22% female (according to IGDA) and the UK games industry which is 15% female (according to Develop).
Moreover, the survey indicates that 34% of Australian games companies consider experience, qualifications and diversity equally when they are hiring new employees. 78% of the companies surveyed expect their business to grow in the 16-17 financial year and two thirds of those surveyed expect to employ additional staff across several departments, including marketing, production and quality assurance.
On the one hand, it’s positive to see that the Australian games industry (albeit this snapshot of it) isn’t lagging behind the average by much when it comes to employing women. However, as the survey doesn’t offer a breakdown of which departments female employees work in, it’s impossible to conclude how much of an influence they have on the end game product, something which is key to improving the representation of women in video games.
Additionally, the survey doesn’t disclose the ethnicities of the 842 employees surveyed meaning that even if the Australian games industry is becoming more diverse in terms of gender, in terms of race it may still be homogenous. As the survey also notes how 81% of the $114.9 million revenue made during 2016 came from overseas markets (specifically the United States, Europe and Asia), having a racially diverse team could be vital when it comes to appealing to these international markets in future.
With Australian games companies at least considering the diversity of their new hires, there could be plenty of improvements on this front. Meanwhile, initiatives such as this Australian college’s scholarship (of which half of the scholarship funding is reserved for marginalised applicants) can also help the Australian games industry become more representative of people who play games.