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Mind The Diversity Gap

When I think about talent sourcing and mapping, I think first about the missed opportunities of not having a diverse workforce, and why we see such a gap in our industry.

Last month, Women In Games published the “Women In Games Guide: Building A Player Field”, a detailed report with concrete actions on how to bridge the gap of women in gaming and leadership positions.

Let’s start by looking at the data to understand where we are today 👀

The higher you get in an organization, the fewer women you will see. We are not there yet when it comes to parity in top leadership positions. Those numbers are unfortunately even lower in gaming, where we see about 20–25% women in teams and less than 10% women in middle management positions.

“The world has changed since the 2018 publication of the first Women in Games Guide. Covid-19, Brexit, the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter global movements, plus geopolitical instability, have all brought change. Despite these dramatic shifts, women remain underrepresented in the games industries, and equality of opportunity has still to be achieved. According to research from the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie): ‘…the games workforce has a significantly larger percentage of men and a lower percentage of women than the overall workforce where the percentage of women is around 48%.”

Sources: McKinsey report Sept22, ISFE report 2021

Why should we care about this gap?

We know from multiple sources of data that having a diversity of talents in teams and leadership leads to superior outcomes, whether monetarily or as purpose-driven.

So, where do we begin?

Everything changes from the top.

“The most important ingredient in making real, systemic change, is leadership. Women in Games recommends senior leaders across the games and esports sectors to commit to genuine change, by providing the driving force behind actions designed to bring about fairness.

In practical terms, this means being publicly aligned to clear goals, and providing visible, high-level leadership in the ongoing process of successfully achieving those goals. Unless leaders actively plan and set out how they are to be achieved, progressive ideas, policies, objectives, and required outcomes will gather dust as papers in a drawer, or pretexts for box-ticking exercises.”

Most of the time, the gap problem lies in workplaces not being accessible or attractive for diverse talents to join because of the:

  • Lack of purpose, clarity, or/and consistency of values
  • Lack of representation
  • Lack of equal opportunities (in hiring, wages, promotions)
  • Lack of sense of belonging

“Imagery is really important to ensure that the diverse talent who might be looking at your studio have a feeling that they would belong. There is an absolute need to see people like oneself, to feel that this is a place where you could thrive. So, website imagery is important, along with social media messaging — really consider how you are presenting your company to diverse talent. This should include accessibility, making sure that everybody can read.

Belonging is especially important in creative environments. Fundamentally, if you don’t feel able to be the person you really are when you come to work every day, then you will not be able to have your very best ideas or do your very best work. You will edit yourself constantly — and that isn’t how you come up with creative excellence (Women in Game Guide 2022)”

So, if you are serious about shifting to building a more diverse and inclusive workplace, it has to begin with:

  • The commitment to change from the leadership, with concrete actions and plans.
  • Clarity of purpose, vision, and values
  • A deeper and social purpose beyond monetary goals. Many talents out there won’t join your cause if your reason to exist is just to get to the top grossing or making an exit.
  • Hire proactively more women and diverse profiles in your leadership team. More women will attract more women, at all levels of the organization.

Turning The Lens On You ✍️…

Building a workplace that attracts a diverse competitive talents starts with having clarity of purpose and strong values.

As a company, have you done your foundational work in stating those clearly?

  • Leadership alignment: What is the Purpose of your organization? Do you share the same Purpose among the co-founders?
  • Internal and external communication: How have you articulated your company values and how do they serve your Purpose?
  • Diverse talent sourcing: Are you set to attract a diversity of talents? Is your workplace attractive for women and other underrepresented groups?

Here are concrete steps you can follow to start building a fair workplace, as recommended in the WIG guide:

  • Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
  • Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work — respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination
  • Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety, and well-being of both women and men workers
  • Principle 4: Promote education, training, and professional development for women
  • Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain, and marketing practices that empower women
  • Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
  • Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

Are you ready to bridge the gap?

If you enjoyed this article, give your feedback and follow my other leadership learnings on Rise and Play and our podcast!

I am working to grow a community of conscious leaders across the industry and beyond.

If you want to join this movement, please share the Rise and Play content with other conscious leaders, because we have so much more we can learn from each other.

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