Debugging D&I – Amiqus’ Liz Prince shares key advice and highlights from 2022

As we head into a new year, Amiqus’ business manager highlights some key advice and commentary from contributors to this column over the past 12 months, to help studios formulate and plan their EDI strategies for 2023 and beyond …

INTO GAMES’ HEAD OF PARTNERSHIPS AND DEVELOPMENT BRANDON COLE ON THE MAIN CHALLENGES FACING YOUNG PEOPLE SEEKING A CAREER IN GAMES:

The main barrier is socio-economic background. The UK games industry workforce is very affluent with 61% having parents from managerial/professional backgrounds, and 30% from selective or fee-paying schools. There are many wonderful organisations in the industry supporting those with varying intersectionalities, but at present those from low-income backgrounds are not adequately supported – we want to change that.

Studios who are curious about how they can have a greater impact on building a fairer, more representative industry should join our Into Games Industry Partners programme. It supports all of our work, and helps studios to build inclusive entry routes, empower secondary school students to pursue a career in games, trains staff to be brilliant mentors, and much more.

OUT MAKING GAMES ON WHAT STUDIOS CAN DO TO SUPPORT LGBTQ+ INDIVIDUALS IN THE WORKPLACE:

Introduce harassment and bullying policies which specifically call out homophobic, transphobic and biphobic behaviour. Provide a safe means to report homophobic, transphobic and biphobic behaviour. Have transitioning at work policies and healthcare that provides cover for gender dysphoria, gender affirming surgery, mental health cover.

Hire and pay consultants rather than ask LGBTQ+ staff to be solely responsible for managing authentic representation. Make sure your hiring practices are not discriminatory by using panels to hire rather than individuals. Create an environment where LGBTQ+ people feel 100% comfortable being their true authentic selves.

MARIE-CLAIRE ISAAMAN, WOMEN IN GAMES CEO AND CO-AUTHOR OF THE GUIDE: BUILDING A FAIR PLAYING FIELD, ON HOW THE GAMES INDUSTRY CAN BE A MORE GENDER DIVERSE SPACE:

A good starting point is to look at how we can encourage more women and girls to consider games as a career. We know that girls are keen gamers, so why are those same girls and young women not considering games as a career choice? The online abuse and toxicity they see in online games spaces may very well be deterring them, and if they’re seeing the reports of harassment and ‘frat boy’ culture within some publishers, that must make them think that maybe games is not a welcoming – or safe – place for them.

GAME PRODUCER AND WRITER CLAIRE BOISSIERE ON ATTRACTING TALENT FROM OUTSIDE OF THE INDUSTRY AND WHAT IT CAN DO TO HELP WITH DIVERSITY:

We all know the games industry has a D&I problem at senior and executive level, which is compounded by the D&I retention problem at the mid-level. If we want to get serious about addressing these problems then adopting a more skills-based recruitment process, committing to investing in people and opening up minds to the possibility of candidates from outside games is a must.

SAFE IN OUR WORLD’S CHARITY MANAGER SARAH SORRELL ON ENSURING THE MENTAL WELLBEING OF EMPLOYEES:

Commit to making the mental health of employees a priority and promote wellbeing as part of the company culture. It is also really important for companies to understand their people and check-in with them on a regular basis. We also recommend that they provide mental health resources like an EAP (Employee Assistant programme) and get their managers and team leaders trained as Mental Health First Aiders.

AND FINALLY, AUTISTICA’S CORPORATE PARTNERSHIP OFFICER ALICE COOPER ON WHAT NEURODIVERSE TALENT CAN BRING TO A STUDIO AND A TEAM:

Neurodivergent people perceive and experience the world around them in unique ways, which means they offer exciting perspectives in both creative and technical roles, a combination that frequently comes together in games industry job opportunities. With many games studios currently experiencing recruitment challenges, it’s more important than ever for studios to differentiate themselves and showcase they’re a welcoming and accessible workplace for any neurodivergent employee.

We know from the results of the Ukie Census published in early 2022 that there has been some change when it comes to diversity within the UK games business, but as an industry we need to do more collectively. We look forward to bringing more advice and guidance on all EDI issues over the course of 2023.

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