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Survey shows game industry men three times more likely to earn top dollars than women

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Wide wage discrepancies found between genders, especially in top jobs

new survey from the International Game Developers Association reveals continued inequity between men and women working in the video game business.

The survey found that 10 percent of men report earning $150,000 or more, while only three percent of women make the same income. This is despite a similar percentage of workers in managerial positions (37 percent of women and 38 percent of men).

The 2015 Developer Satisfaction Survey, published today, polled almost 3,000 respondents working in gaming. Among those who responded, 75 percent identified as male, 23 percent identified as female and 2.5% identified as transgender or "other." The IDGA said that, for reasons of statistical clarity, it included the transgender or "other" responses in with women's responses.

People working in North America made up 59 percent of the sample, followed by Europe at 25 percent.

At low income levels, the stats between genders are about level. Among employees (not including freelancers and the self-employed), 24 percent of women and 26 percent of men reported earning less than $40,000. Forty-one percent of women reported earning a middling level of between $40,000 and $75,000, whereas 29 percent of men reported this income.

However, in high-income brackets, Forty-one percent of men reported earning over $75,000 a year compared to 35 percent of women. Thirteen percent of male employees reported earning $150,000 or more, compared to only four percent of female employees.

The difficulties for women with children working in the game industry are also explored in the report. Thirty-six percent of white men report having children living at home compared to 17 percent of women. Women within the sample are no younger than men and should therefore be no less likely to report having children. The survey found that only around a third of employers offer paid maternity leave.

"This may suggest that features of the work of video game development differentially affect the domestic choices of women," concluded the report.

Attitudes toward gender equality is also markedly different between men and women. When asked if they felt that the industry offers equal treatment and opportunities for all, 23 percent of women said they did, compared to 40 percent of men.

Sixty-seven percent of women reported experiencing some form of inequity in the workplace compared to 38 percent of men. Forty-four percent of women report experiencing microaggressions (defined as verbal, behavioural and environmental indignities) compared to nine percent of men.

Half of respondents agreed that their company pursues diverse candidates, a slight increase from 45 percent in 2014. Eighty percent of men, compared to only 64 percent of women agreed that obtaining diverse candidates is challenging.

More believe that diversity is important in games than in the workplace

More people working in gaming believe that diversity is important in games themselves than in the workplace. Seventy-two percent said it was somewhat or very important to video game content compared to 62 percent who said diversity was somewhat or very important to the workplace. On average, women reported that diversity was important in these areas 14 percent more frequently than men.

"As the largest professional association for game developers worldwide, the International Game Developers Association has been in a unique position to know and understand individual game developers on a level that most companies and organizations cannot," wrote IGDA executive director Kate Edwards in the report's introduction.

"While we’ve always had a very good pulse on how developers anecdotally feel about their work and their industry, we haven’t always been consistent in capturing and conveying that insight. We’re thankful for the strongly positive reception for this research and moving forward, the DSS will serve as the IGDA’s core method by which we inform ourselves and the industry about the critical questions around developers’ satisfaction."