Office Manager, Ukie
Efforts to create diverse and inclusive work practices have become a greater priority to the games industry in the past decade. We look at how Ukie, the video games industry trade body, has approached the topic.
Ukie worked with the University of Sheffield to commission the UK Games Industry Census1 to get an accurate picture of industry diversity.
Drawing upon detailed responses from over 3,200 workers across the sector, the census has provided robust figures on gender split, BAME in games, LGBTQ+ representation and much more.
The strength of the data has had a significant impact on the sector. It has identified areas for improvement, it provides a foundation on which to track industry’s diversity progress overall and constructively challenges the sector to do more to get women into games.
Since our last article where we suggested 19% of the industry workforce were women2, the census reported a figure of 28% one year later. Although that remains significantly under the national working average, it offers hope that a more diverse and inclusive workforce is being built.
#RaiseTheGame diversity pledge
While the census provided firm data on diversity in the sector, we also wanted to influence and impact by encouraging practical action.
So, alongside the census’ publication we also launch our #RaiseTheGame diversity pledge initiative3, to inspire game companies of any size and across the world to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of everything they do.
Companies are asked to commit to the pledge and measure progress against three pillars:
- To recruit more widely and diversely;
- To create and shape inclusive workplaces;
- To reflect diversity within games, both regarding their content and the way they’re made.
The aim was to create principles that could be applied equally to major international companies with hundreds of employees and to teams of fewer than ten.
The pledge so far…
Since the pledge launched in February 2020, more than 50 companies have signed on as pledge partners, all committed to meeting the points outlined within the initiative.
Furthermore, we’ve released resources to support businesses to diversify further. This includes a guidance report4 and practical case studies to give companies simple steps on how to start or further implement diversity and inclusion within their organisations.
We’ve also run a number of events, including the pledge launch at the Microsoft Central London store5 and a virtual online panel to show our commitment to the pledge, particularly by ensuring that diverse figures, especially women in key leadership roles, were on our panels.
Video games ambassadors
We have also sought to improve diversity within our longstanding schools outreach and career programme the Video Games Ambassadors (VGA) scheme6.
We relaunched the VGAs in March following the launch of the pledge to provide a greater focus on getting a diverse selection of ambassadors from the sector onto the programme; to reflect the diverse and open nature of our industry that helps us to succeed7.
We hope to inspire more women to come into the sector by getting inspirational women speaking to students at schools, colleges and universities.
1 https://ukie.org.uk/UK-games-industry-census-2020 | 2 https://www.womeninstem.co.uk/gaming/game-play-gender-habits-demand/ | 3 https://raisethegame.com/ | 4 https://raisethegame.com/media/content/RaiseTheGame%20Guidance%20Feb%202020.pdf | 5 https://news.microsoft.com/en-gb/2020/02/04/xbox-teams-up-with-ukie-to-raisethegame-on-diversity-in-the-gaming-sector/ | 6 https://gamesambassadors.org.uk/ | 7 https://www.womeninstem.co.uk/gaming/games-industry-supports-talented-people/