Home » Video Games & Esports » Why gaming recruitment is adding up to better female prospects

Freya Simmons

Marketing Manager, Skillsearch

Joe McKernan

Associate Director, Skillsearch

Representation in the games industry was traditionally biased towards males. However, thanks to a sustained effort to improve gender bias, females are discovering genuine opportunities for career growth.

The global video games industry is vast, and its customers are more engaged than ever.

Exciting improvements in gender bias

It makes sense that the people who make games should reflect the diversity of the world. “If we can put together teams that reflect the public at large then companies making the games will see the positive impact on their end products,” says Joe McKernan, who is Associate Director at Skillsearch, a Brighton-based recruitment company that is leading on pushing for change in diversity and inclusion, in particular gender bias, in the games industry.

It published research, based on surveys with companies, which showed that in the three years up to 2023, there has been a fall from 26% to 13% in the gender pay gap. “This is a big change,” says Freya Simmons, who is Marketing Manager at Skillsearch. “Companies we work with are using our recruiting services because we pride ourselves on rooting out anything that might put off female applicants. We have transparent relationships with clients so we can help them to achieve their gender equality goals,” and this is reflected as they recently helped find work placements for 17 women with their client Krafton.

Ways to improve company recruitment models

McKernan offers tailored support to his clients and notes, “Hiring managers ask us how they can improve diversity. Sometimes, job descriptions are written with the previous employee in mind, which is more likely to be a male, so we help to adapt it.”

He has seen big improvements in diversity in the past decade, including an increase in the number of people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds in the industry. He attributes this to the presence of positive role models in senior leadership positions. Simmons, who conducted a survey on diversity in the video game industry, adds: “At senior level, the gender pay gap has evened up, and in some cases, there are higher female salaries.”

Making good business sense

Serving a global market requires recruiting talented people from all over. As McKernan puts it: “If you’re a Paris-based company but want the top talent from South Korea, you need to be able to work together even if that’s remote-based.” Simmons agrees, adding that: “If you want to promote a game, it’s handy to have local-based marketers on hand.” All of this reinforces the need to pick the most talented people who can bring the range of skills and creativity that this ever-evolving market requires.

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