A while ago, I completed the 2014 IGDA Developer Survey, and was really interested to see the preliminary results when they were released this week in an IGDA Press Release. It’s great to read their results in relation to demographics and experience, and I’m fascinated by the results on issues like work/life balance and crunch time. As an IGDA member, I’m so glad to see that this type of research is being carried out in the industry, and I hope we continue to see this and more.
There is just one thing that irks me about the press release and the subsequent reporting of the findings of the study. The study itself is totally above board, but in reporting it, everyone keeps talking about how 22% of individuals working in the games industry are women, while in fact just 22% of the people who responded to the survey were women. I know that the increase (up from 11.5% in 2009 – people are saying that the % has doubled) suggests that there are now more women in the industry than there were five years ago – but that doesn’t mean that 22% of the industry are now female.
In my undergraduate psychology dissertation, which looked at individual differences in altruism in relation to willingness to participate in a study by completing surveys and turning up to participate in research, a significant difference was found in relation to gender – within my sample, females were more willing to participate in research than males. I’m loathe to generalise from an undergraduate dissertation, but there is a lot of research in this area, such as Smith’s 2008 article Does Gender Influence Online Survey Participation? which states:
“In general, more educated and more affluent people are more likely to participate in surveys than less educated and less affluent people (Curtin, Presser, and Singer, 2000; Goyder, Warriner, & Miller, 2002; Singer, van Hoewyk, & Maher, 2000), women are more likely to participate than men (Curtin et al 2000; Moore & Tarnai, 2002; Singer et al 2000), younger people are more likely to participate than older people (Goyder, 1986; Moore & Tarnai, 2002), and white people are more likely to participate than non-white people (Curtin et al 2000; Groves, Singer, & Corning, 2000; Voight, Koepsell & Daling, 2003).”
Either way, although the reporting of the survey leaves something to be desired, I’m sure the data will speak for itself, I am glad that it suggests that there is some increase in the number of women in the industry, and I’m really looking forward to reading the Summary Report and subsequent reports to be released later in the year.