Low diversity across jobs within gaming industry according to trade body

Like most creative industries, the international games industry has faced decades of criticism for a serious lack of representation and diversity. 

So far, arguments have specifically targeted the lack of diversity and the abundance of racial stereotypes of the characters and their roles illustrated within the games.

However, the trade body for the UK games and interactive entertainment industry has carried out a census of those who work within the industry. 

The Ukie report has outlined the current extent of diversity and BAME representation across the gaming industry. 

While black people make up 2% of the games industry, this is just half the proportion that they make up across the working age population. 

This under-representation in the industry is said to drive a further inequality in the games that are created, which perpetuate racial stereotypes through the game’s characters and storylines.

Co-CEO of Ukie Dan Wood said: “We are a big industry. 

“We’ve got about 75,000 jobs in the whole ecosystem throughout the country.

“The range of roles has never been greater.”

He said that individuals have the chance to become involved through creative, analytical or management; there is something for everyone.

Attendees of the Festival of Food event at Develop Brighton which forms part of Ukie’s RaiseTheGame pledge.
Photo credit: Max Langran via Ukie

Founding Chair of BAME in Games Kish Hirani said that black and ethnic minorities were 8% underrepresented overall and spoke about his own experience entering the industry. 

He said: “Luckily, I was in a position where I wanted to work in this industry and I was just headstrong.”

He addressed that jobs within the gaming industry were still not perceived as ‘real jobs’ as the gaming industry came into fruition approximately 35 years ago. 

However, several artists have committed to their creative trade, pushing beyond the odds, like Taiwo Omisore.

Taiwo is an app developer and digital designer from South London, who taught himself how to develop software and create games as he grew up.

Photo credit: Taiwo Omisore

Now, he has created several gaming apps, such as Spacebots, Cube Sprint and, most recently, MultiWords. 

He said that he was ‘blown away’ that people enjoyed his games and thought back to the day when his games went live on the app store, ‘feeling overwhelmed with emotion’. 

Although he said that it was not technically ‘the best in class’, he had built it, which ‘was just incredible’. 

He said: “It just makes me so happy inside. 

“The learning process for me is just really exciting because, with coding, with music, with baking, you can never stop learning.

He said that his journey still involves a degree of self-doubt and imposter syndrome, which has been improving. 

Taiwo said: “There’s always going to be something new to try; that’s really what gets me excited and keeps me motivated.”

Currently, Ukie is working on ways to build greater levels of diversity in the gaming industry through their #RaiseTheGame pledge.

They aim to create an equal and inclusive work environment for other under-represented groups as well, such women and the LGBTQ+ community.

Dr Jo Twist, who was CEO of Ukie from 2012 until last year, said: “Diversity isn’t a nicety; it’s a necessity.”

Featured image credit: Max Langran via Ukie

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