Diversity’s Not So Hot in the Game Business, Either

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Young and hip as it may be, the world of game development is as white and male as the rest of tech, according to a report from the International Game Developers Association. The organization’s 2014 Developer Satisfaction Survey found that a full 79 percent of developers are white, followed by 8.2 percent Hispanic/Latino, 7.5 percent Asian and 2.5 percent black. The IDGA says this represents a slightly better diversity picture than was seen in 2005, when 83.3 percent of the respondents identified themselves as white.

Women made better inroads, with the percentage of female game developers more than doubling since 2009. Today, 22 percent are women, compared to 11.5 percent since the last report. About 76 percent are men. The other 2 percent listed themselves as transgender or “other.”

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Interestingly, only 28 percent of the survey’s respondents said the industry offered “equal opportunity for all.” Another 47 percent said it didn’t, and 23 percent didn’t know.

Movable Workforce

It’s probably no surprise that employees in the industry move around. The average developer has been in the business for nine years, has worked on 16 separate projects and had four employers since 2009. That fits in a business that tends to hire up when projects kick off and then downsize if the next effort in the pipeline isn’t ready to go.

The biggest reason developers work in the field is because they like it–“to earn a living doing what I enjoy,” in the survey’s language. They must, because by and large they’re not making big money: Nearly half of game developers–47 percent–earn less than $50,000 a year, they say, while 33 percent earn between $50,000 and $100,000. Nineteen percent earn $100,000 or more.

When projects hit a crunch, 77 percent said they receive compensation for extra time that they have to put in. Still, 39 percent have left the industry over quality of life issues and 15 percent said they were simply burned out.

You can find a summary report on the survey here.

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