October 20, 2005

IGDA Game Developers Demographics data

by Mary Flanagan · , 10:43 pm

IGDA has released their new report: Game Developer Demographics: An Exploration of Workforce Diversity on Oct 18. You can download it as a PDF.

There were 6,437 responses, with 4,006 responses ultimately used in the report, as these were active in game specific jobs rather than overall software jobs.

In the summary, the report notes, “Based on the survey findings, the “typical” game development professional can be described as:

• white
• male
• heterosexual
• not disabled
• 31 years old
• working in the industry just over 5 years
• university/college educated
• is a programmer, artist or designer
• earning approx. US$57,000 in total compensation per year
• agrees that workforce diversity is important to the future success of the game industry

83% of US game developers self classified as white, and salaries were comparatively higher for whites than other workers though there is also a correlating amount of time in the industry (work experience) factor in this area.

Of all the survey respondents, 11.5% identified themselves as female. Jobs categories are also broken down by gender, with women holding 5% of programming jobs, 10% of design jobs, and 11% of visual art jobs, as compared to 25% of the marketing jobs and 30% of the writing jobs. Looking at average salaries, the study reported a $9,000 gap between male and female workers with similar years of job experience. The study also explored sexual orientation and disability status.

Of particular interest are the insider comments on diversity, which can be found in a separate document on the site.

The group makes the survey instruments available online, which is helpful, for the report notes that the survey instruments were made by an undergraduate Anthropology intern. No offfense to the intern who worked hard on this, but a professional assessment research firm or independent researcher with a track record of reliable and publishable results using established rigorous social science methods would have helped strengthen the validity of such important research. In any event, for those of us invested into demographic and equity issues, it’s something to go on.

4 Responses to “IGDA Game Developers Demographics data”

  1. nick Says:

    Mary, what’s wrong with the survey instruments? And why does it matter who prepared them, as opposed to what they are?

  2. nick Says:

    To clarify, if your point was that the IDGA could have staffed their project with more experienced researchers, I understand what you’re saying – although I’m not sure what educational level or commercial, corporate status is necessary here.

    But I don’t see how the identity of the person who prepared the questionnaires, or the status of that person as an undergraduate Anthropology intern, has any effect on the “validity” of the completed research. If there’s something wrong with the questionnaires, then there’s something wrong with them, isn’t there, whether they were prepared by a middle school student or Claude Lévi-Strauss? And if not, not?

  3. scott Says:

    I think that Mary is simply presenting the results of the survey, and providing a paranthetical comment about the methodology used in the survey. All surveys are inevitably flawed. The framing of the question influences the response, and professional researchers take into account factors that a less experienced researcher may not, and the fact is that bias is inevitable. I don’t think that Mary was trying to be dismissive of the survey. At the same time, I think you’re correct that an instrument is an instrument whether made by a troglodyte or an artisan or a machine.

  4. Paul Says:

    Good luck getting someone to cut you a check with that “troglodyte” data backing you up. Of course an independent, professional study would be better for many, many reasons.

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