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Women in the US game industry made 14 percent less than men in 2013, survey says

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Women in the U.S. game industry earned an average of 86 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts made in 2013, according to Gamasutra's 2014 game developer salary survey.

This year, Gamasutra picked up the mantle of the salary survey from Game Developer magazine, which ceased publication in 2013. The 2014 edition is the 13th annual report of its kind, and covers calendar year 2013.

Excluding students and educators, average salaries came in at $85,074 for men and $72,882 for women in 2013; the overall pay across the industry of $83,060 represented a decrease of 2 percent compared to 2012. Women earned more than men in only one field: quality assurance, where the average salary for women ($56,786) was about $2,200 higher than for men ($54,576), a jump of 4 percent.

In the six other sectors of employment — business and management, programming and engineering, art and animation, game design, production, and audio — women's salaries ranged from 6 percent less than men's (design) to 31.5 percent less than men (audio, although the survey noted that with a lower sample size in that field, the numbers were more easily skewed by outliers). In programming and engineering, where women out-earned men in 2012 by 4.5 percent — the only sector in which women topped men that year — the figures took a notable turn in the opposite direction: Male programmers made an average of $93,977 in 2013, 18.5 percent more than women ($79,318).

Gamasutra's report points out that the gender pay gap in the game industry, as much of an issue as it remains, is actually better than the overall situation in America. The national average is that women earn 77 cents for every dollar that men do, according to a 2012 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more details on salaries across the game industry, check out Gamasutra's full report.

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