Historically video game development was generally considered to be a male only occupation but with more women than ever playing computer games the industry is quickly waking up to the need to recruit women. In the past, the number of female game developers has been relatively low compared to their male counter parts; in 2005, for example fewer than 10% of games jobs were filled by women although fortunately this now appears to be changing.
The latest research suggests that the number of women working in the games industry has increased to 15% worldwide and even higher in some UK studios. For example, the EA team behind the recently released The Sims 3 game had more female than male developers, so the tide is changing and there has never been a better time for women to break into the industry.
How do women fare?
Ironically those women who do work in the games industry are often more successful than their male colleagues. A recent survey by MCV revealed that the average salary for women working in the UK games industry is £33,260 per year, which is £2,000 higher than an average male salary working in the same industry. This news should not come as a surprise, the number of female gamers is growing dramatically and developers are increasingly aware that women offer a tremendous benefit in all aspects of game development. A mixed sex team of developers will create more varied games which is likely to attract a more diverse audience.
Women at Jagex
At Jagex we employ 64 women who make up around a fifth of our workforce, slightly above the UK’s industry average. We work hard to actively promote women working in the games industry and always recruit the best individuals regardless of sex. At Jagex, we tend to recruit staff straight from university for most of our vacancies and we advertise our roles with a range of game specific recruitment agencies and on a variety of websites to allow the maximum number of potential applicants to find out about our exciting jobs.
There are literally hundreds of different jobs to choose, anything from scriptwriters and graphic designers to coders and content developers. If you are good at what you do then it really doesn’t matter if you are male or female. Be confident and make sure you know your stuff, but remember that everyone looking to pursue a career in the games industry will need to demonstrate a real passion for games.
The games industry is extremely competitive so we recommend that all potential applicants gain some work experience to help them get a foot in the door. Jagged, like many UK games studios, runs a university placement scheme which allows student to spend a year working for a games developer and gaining vital hands on experience in the industry. Once you have some experience, it is essential to get the right training. There are a number of university courses, which lead either directly or indirectly, into the video games industry.
More information on all the computer games development courses can be found on the UCAS website. There is also a wide variety of websites, including icould, which offer support and advice to help you get the job you always dreamed of.
Head of Public Relations, Jagex Ltd