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How to hire more women in the game industry

Today's Turning the Tide: Hiring and Retaining Women in the Games Industry GDC panel was stocked with advice on helping to create and maintain a workforce that values women workers.

Ginger Maseda, Director of Global Talent Acquisition at EA, noted that more and more, she hears interest in hiring people from outside of the dominant pool. "I love that they're asking," she said. "I think it demonstrates interest and passion." Maseda noted that it needs to be backed up by a company culture that values diversity. "It [can't be] just one person, it has to be every person," she said, of a studio that wants to diversify its workforce. "It's important that HR directors are deliberate and championing."

Susan Bollinger, Director of Talent & Culture at Certain Affinity, had some very practical advice for building such a culture.

"I call it a 'no jerks rule,'" she said, and noted that the interview process is specifically designed to weed out folks who would make company culture toxic. She also had practical advice on how to deal with the "locker room" mentality that can come up in male-dominated spaces. Bollinger asserts that hiring folks who care about their environment and empowering everyone to speak up goes a long way.

"It's really important in my view to not always leave that to the 'HR' police," she said, speaking about inappropriate jokes. "It's not about being the 'fun police' it's about having the work environment that we want."

Bollinger also had advice with regards to current employees that want to bring up diversity to their team leads. When asked by an audience member how to start a conversation with a team lead that "didn't know where to begin" hiring more women, she advised having stats and articles ready to get the conversation started. Breaking through stereotypes is the first goal.

"The first way to get [workers] is to not make assumptions about what kind of people want to work on games."