IGDA DSS 2017 Press Release8 Jan 2018
Increasing Percentage of Game Developers Regard Diversity as Important, But Action Not Taken by Companies; Low Job Security, High Job Mobility: IGDA Survey
MOUNT ROYAL, N.J. – Jan. 8, 2018 – While the majority of game developers view diversity as an important priority, companies are not taking action to foster environments where people from all walks of life can thrive, and the game industry’s volatility is showing its impact in a workforce that is losing its experienced talent, according to the 2017 Developer Satisfaction Survey (DSS) (PDF) conducted by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).
Some key findings follow:
Importance of Diversity
- 81% of game developers feel that diversity in the workplace is ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’, up from 78% in 2016 and 63% in 2015. Even more developers (84%) feel that diversity in the game industry overall is ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ important, compared to 80% in 2016 and 66% in 2015.
- Slightly less than half of respondents (42%) feel the game industry had increased diversity over the past two years, a decrease from 47% in 2016.
- 21% of respondents said the industry should focus on ‘more diversity in game content’ to ensure future growth and success, the second most selected option (after ‘advancement in game design’ at 22%) when developers were asked what the industry needed to do to succeed in the future.
- 14% of full time employed respondents reported that their company had no policies directed toward diversity or equality. An additional 25% did not know if their company had diversity-related policies.
- Among game developers whose employers have diversity/equality policies, only 56% felt that policies were adequately enforced and another 34% were not sure. Just 26% said that their company had a ‘formal complaint procedure’ and 21% reported existence of a ‘formal disciplinary process’.
Job Security and Working Conditions
- 39% of respondents expect to remain with their current employer for three years or less, and 20% of employed respondents don’t know how long their current job will last.
- 51% of game developers say that their job involves crunch time, and an additional 44% of game developers report working long or extended hours. 14% of developers reported working more than 70 hours a week during crunch.
- 27% of employed developers have worked for three to five employers in the last five years, a statistic that highlights the significant employment volatility in the industry. 64% of respondents have been in the game development industry for fewer than 10 years.
- Only 44% of developers surveyed believe their profession has a clear career path. 39% said there is no clear career path and 17% stated they are not sure.
The Average Game Developer
- The typical employee in this sample was 35 years old, identified as white or as multiracial with white (71%), was male (79%), and was working in the United States (44%). He was heterosexual (86%) and likely to be married or in a long-term relationships (57%; 37% reported being single). He did not have children (69%), and did not identify as having a disability (79%). He had a university degree (45%) probably in computer science (16%) or game design (13%)
- Game developers are significantly younger than the mean age of 42 for participants in the US labor force, with 54% of respondents aged 25-34. This trend may reflect both the significant turnover in the industry as well as age discrimination often seen in tech fields.
- For the first time in four years, Blizzard has beaten out Valve as most desirable company to work for with 8% of the vote. Valve received 6%. The next most common answers were Nintendo (4%), and Bethesda (4%).
“We’re seeing high rates of turnover and concerns about job stability,” said Jen MacLean, interim executive director, IGDA. “Combined with the lack of support for equality and diversity in the workplace, these results confirm the IGDA’s belief that the organization must act to help game developers create fulfilling, sustainable careers. A short average tenure in the industry is also a clear wakeup call for game development companies; we must do a better job of keeping talent engaged and participating in our industry.”
The IGDA 2017 DSS Survey was created and analyzed by: Johanna Weststar, assistant professor, DAN Program in Management and Organizational Studies, Western University; Victoria O’Meara, PhD candidate, Faculty of Media and Information Studies, Western University; and Marie-Josée Legault, professor, École des sciences de l’administration, TÉLUQ; with assistance and guidance from Kate Edwards and Jen MacLean.
About the International Game Developers Association (IGDA)
Now in its 24th year, the International Game Developers Association is the largest non-profit membership organization serving individuals who create games. The association exists to advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community.
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