The Games industry’s pay gap is showing improvement, but there’s still some way to go. Skillsearch published its 2022/2023 Games & Interactive Salary and Satisfaction Survey earlier this year, which throws a spotlight onto this particular issue. The company outlines the findings of its research here…
What does the gender pay gap in the games and interactive industries look like?
Our 2022/2023 Games & Interactive Salary and Satisfaction Survey* offers a depiction of the current gender pay gap landscape in our industry. The data collected reveals a gender pay gap of 13%*.
This means that on average, men in the industry are earning just over £8,000** more each year than women. In other words, women in games and interactive will stop getting paid on November 14th!
To put a positive spin on this figure, compared to the last time we conducted this analysis and provided a gender pay gap report, the gap is 6% smaller. Additionally, when comparing our data to GamesIndustry.biz’s analysis in 2022, the pay gap is now 4% smaller.
Let’s take a deeper dive into this issue…
How does the pay gap look across regions?
This year’s data depicts that Western Europe and the UK have the smallest gender pay gaps at £6,593 and £8,183 respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, we have the USA with a shocking £37,000 gender pay gap.
However, it’s important to note that the data may be skewed by those who took part in the survey. The majority of this year’s female respondents from the USA were working at Mid-Senior level, whereas data collected from male respondents in the USA was largely from those working in Senior, Lead and Director roles.
It’s a similar story for Eastern Europe where we see an average gender pay gap of just over £20,000. Most female respondents based in Eastern Europe were of Mid-level seniorities, with almost none working in management roles or higher. Whereas, the data from male respondents in Eastern Europe shows that the majority were in Senior to Lead/Manager roles.
With more high-level roles presenting in male respondents, it is only to be expected that the data would illustrate a higher average salary for men than women, which could go some way to explaining the extortionate gender pay gap we’re seeing in these countries.
Although there might be a plausible reason for this disparity, does it point to a wider issue? Are women in these regions unable to progress to senior level positions?
In order to provide a more accurate view of the gender pay gap across regions a breakdown into senior positions was conducted, which provides a far more positive picture.
Interestingly, in this analysis, we see a much smaller gender pay gap in most regions. In fact, for the UK, Western Europe and USA, our data shows that women are actually earning more than their male counterparts in senior positions on average. When comparing to our previous gender pay gap report from 2020, we now see a much more positive landscape – and although there may still be some way to go for certain regions, this change is surely encouraging for women in the industry.
Now is a good time to note that although we did open up our survey to respondents in South America, Asia, Africa and Australia, unfortunately we didn’t gain enough responses from these regions to include in our analyses.
The Glass Ceiling
As alluded to earlier, it’s interesting to consider the possibility that, especially in countries with the largest gender pay gap, there may be a problem with women climbing the ladder.
Although the data portrays fewer women overall as you progress up the ranks, in comparison to three years ago we do see some movement in the right direction. Our 2019/2020 report showed that the vast majority of female respondents were working in Graduate roles, with almost none reaching Director level, whereas the latest data sees a shift towards Mid-level, Lead/Manager roles and certainly an increase in the number of female Directors and CEOs.
Does the gender pay gap close with seniority?
Interestingly, the gender pay gap observed in our dataset seems to have hugely improved from the last time we conducted this analysis in 2020. For Junior, Mid-level and Senior roles women are actually earning marginally more than their male counterparts. When it comes to Lead/Manager level however, women are only earning 93% of the money that men are earning, indicating that women at the top are not being fairly compensated.
This data represents a pivotal step forward for the industry which is essential to recognise, however with the distribution of women in top level jobs lacking, there is still work to be done to ensure women have equal opportunities to both progress to top roles and also earn a fair wage once they get there.
A note on the stats
Our report this year depicted a similar gender breakdown as Ukie’s 2022 Games Industry Census with our report observing 76% male, 21% female and 3% other respondents, and Ukie finding 67% male, 30% female and 3% other, which indicates that our respondent pool is a fair representation of the overall population of those working in Games & Interactive.
Although it seems the gender pay gap in the industry is moving in the right direction, there’s evidently still an issue with the proportion of women who make it into the industry, and furthermore the proportion of women who succeed in reaching top level roles.
We look forward to the continuation of positive trends in gender pay gap statistics for our industry in coming years, and hopefully indeed many more women flooding to our wonderful industry!
*Data collected from November 2022-January 2023
**All currencies converted to GBP via HMRC rate in February 2023