Female count of UK dev workforce â??falls to 4%â??

Female count of UK dev workforce â??falls to 4%â??

By Rob Crossley

September 8th 2010 at 11:30AM

Plea for family-friendly workplace structures; globally, 10 per cent of industry females work over 56 hours per week

The UK game industry is 96 per cent male dominated, new data suggests.

A study undertaken by the University of Liverpool concludes that females take up just four per cent of the British industry workforce – eight per cent lower than the results of a similar survey taken in 2006.

The study’s author said dissatisfying working cultures in game studios, as well as other related companies, was the key reason for the sudden drop in female workers.

PhD student Julie Prescott surveyed 450 women working in the game industry as part of the study. The research was undertaken through an online survey of industry professionals based in the UK, USA, Europe, Canada Australia, New Zealand and other countries.

She said 43 per cent of those surveyed believed the industry’s infamous long-hour and crunch culture had a negative impact on their well-being.

A third of women surveyed said they were working over 45 hours each week, while 22 per cent worked another ten hours on top of that. Ten per cent said they worked more than 56 hours each week.

Eighty per cent felt their company had a long-hours culture. Sixty per cent said their company’s policies on work-life balance should be improved.

”Reasons given for intending to leave the industry tended to suggest women are dissatisfied with their organisations and working environment,” said Prescott.

”Flexible working practices would not only improve the image of the industry as a family-friendly working environment, but could also assist in retaining more women, especially those with or considering having children.

”Changing workplace structures, as well as improving childcare provisions, would enable both genders to have active careers.”

Seventy-nine per cent of the surveyed women did not have children, while 69 per cent were aged under 35. Eighty-two per cent played games in their leisure time and 35 per cent had degrees.