Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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UK Games Industry Census reveals 1 in 5 workers in UK games industry are LGBTQ+

The UK Games Industry Census released today alongside the launch of #RaiseTheGame, a new industry-wide diversity pledge, has revealed that 21% of people working in games are LGBTQ+. This number is significantly above the average assumed UK LGBTQ+ population of 3-7%.

Additionally, 2% of the UK games industry workforce identify as non-binary and 3% as trans. Both of these figures are higher than the national average.

The UK Games Industry Census, which was administered and analysed independently by the University of Sheffield and supported by Ukie, accrued over 3200 anonymised responses from people working across the UK games industry.

Given the games industry’s recent challenges around LGBTQ+ representation in games, it’s great to see that there is such a significant number of LGBTQ+ people working in the industry. It is now up to the industry to listen to their workers and let them help shape future content.

We’ve seen a growth of games with strong LGBTQ content in the past 18 months, particularly around indie titles. This figure potentially shows why there has been this growth, particularly from UK games.

In addition, this is an amazing response to a lot of players who say that LGBTQ issues shouldn’t be in games and we don’t belong in the industry… well, we’re already here! So, suck it.

I asked Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, the United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment trade body, whether she was surprised by the size of the industry’s LGBTQ+ population.

I meet a lot of people in the industry in my day job, so I think I had a sense of just how well represented the LGBTQ community is, but I was quite surprised with the figure and its such a positive thing compared to the working age population. Comparison to the wider population is important because we want to compare ourselves with the people we’re representing, the people playing our games.

Dr Jo Twist, CEO – Ukie

Having a strong, queer workforce can mean a lot, but what exactly does it mean for the industry?

Well it’s about representation, it’s about new ideas, about specific ways of looking at the world. We all have different experiences of live, of love, of everything. So being able to represent that in stories we might tackle in-game, some of the characters… It makes it much more inclusive, which is really important. If we’re going to be meeting new audiences, we want to be able to reach them with stories they can relate to.

Dr Jo Twist, CEO – Ukie

I got to speak to Sam Ebelthite, EA’s Country Manager for the UK, a founding partner of the RaiseTheGame pledge, and asked her the same question:

It’s a great motivator to drive further diversity in our workforces. Diversity in the people that make the games drives diversity in our games. The more diversity we have, the more people we can appeal to with our games. It gives us hope for the #RaiseTheGame pledge that we can learn and progress in other areas. We are driven by a creative culture that serves hugely diverse communities  and so it’s great to see the diversity we see in out audiences becoming increasingly represented in those that work here.

Sam Ebelthite, Country Manager for the UK – EA

Alongside the LGBTQ statistics, other diversity areas offered a mix of positive news and room for improvement.

10% of people working in games are Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME). This is a slightly higher percentage than in the national working population and higher than in the wider creative industries, such as music, publishing and film/TV. However, BAME people are less represented in senior games positions.

The games sector is a young industry, with two thirds of people working in the sector are aged 35 or under. But 54% of people in the industry have worked in the sector for five years or more. ​

The UK games industry has been proven to be a male-dominated workforce with only 28% of the workforce identifying as female and 2% non-binary. This is significantly under the national average of those in work, but is similar to the proportion of women working in film & TV, and is better than the IT sector.

I asked Dr Jo Twist how this data has made her feel overall and what she thinks is the industry’s top priority now? 

It’s really important that we have this as a benchmark. We see this as a way of understanding what measures we take to improve diversity and inclusivity in our workforce and what those measures actually do to move the dial. We would love to repeat this census in a couple of years time, like all good censuses, to see what our progress is. We’re also pleased to be launching the RaiseTheGame pledge at the same time which gives practical advice and guidance to companies who want to make sure they’re being more inclusive and representative. The pledge gives clear steps, no matter what size of company you are and no matter who you are.

Dr Jo Twist, CEO – Ukie

The findings reveal the complex and unique make-up of the UK games workforce. While there are many positive stories within the data, it is clear there are some key challenges that the industry must also understand and address in order to support and retain its existing talent, as well as encourage engagement and recruitment from those communities who are less well represented. ​

The #RaiseTheGame pledge

The publication of the results comes on the same day that the UK industry launches a brand new pledge, which seeks to improve equality, diversity and inclusivity across the sector.

#RaisetheGame is a collaborative and high-impact pledge to improve diversity and inclusion in the games industry. Its ambition is to sign up 200 UK game businesses covering 50% of the workforce by 2021, aiming to inspire meaningful cultural and behavioural change in games companies.

Companies signing up to #RaisetheGame pledge to champion and foster diversity and inclusion within their organisations across the three pledge pillars:

  1. Creating a diverse workforce by recruiting as fairly and as widely as possible
  2. Shaping inclusive and welcoming places to work, by educating and inspiring people to take more personal responsibility for fostering and promoting diversity and inclusion
  3. Reflecting greater diversity within games at every level from game design and development through to marketing and community engagement.

Those supporting the #RaisetheGame pledge, including its five founding partners EA, Facebook, Jagex, King and Xbox, will also be asked to provide information on how they matched up against the pledge pillars on an annual basis.

The census will also be conducted regularly, with the intention to run it every two years to track how the industry’s diversity profile changes over time.

You can find out more about pledge and sign up to it here: www.raisethegame.com

You can read the full report online at:


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