What’s the Cost of Being Female in Game Audio?

The Game Audio Industry Survey Provides a Deeper Look at Income Differences Between Men and Women

Seattle, WA (August 30, 2016)  - The 2016 Game Audio Industry Survey, the annual survey that tracks compensation, working conditions, contact terms and production information for the video game music and sound industry, shows a significant discrepancy in salaries between male and female game composers and sound designers. The average male income reported was consistently higher than the average female income.

This year, a greater percentage of women reported income from game audio: 10.4% of all respondents are female, versus 7% in 2015, and 3.5% in 2014. However, the results suggested a gender-based discrepancy in incomes and salary, with women earning less than men in game audio.

“We believe the results of the analysis of compensation rates of men and women in game audio warranted a deeper analysis and discussion,” says Brian Schmidt, Executive Director of GameSoundCon. He wanted to see if the difference was a factor of gender, or was a byproduct of some other factor, such as years of experience in the game industry, which has a significant correlation with salary and income. “The longer you work in the gaming industry the more likely your income will also increase.”

Schmidt hired professional statistician, Dr. Mary Siegrist, PhD from IMSA Consulting to analyze what amount of the difference in income, if any, was attributable to sex and what might be due to other issues such as education or number of years’ experience in game audio.

Even after accounting for the lower average number of years of experience in the game audio industry, the analysis showed that women reported less total income than men. “There is sufficient evidence to determine that gender has a correlation with total [game audio] income earned. Females earn less than males regardless of the length of time working in the game industry,” states Dr. Siegrist. “The cost of being female is 2.15 years of experience, i.e. women need that many more years in the industry to make up the difference in pay. However, females never do catch up to males.”

These findings will likely be a hot topic of discussions at this year’s GameSoundCon, the premier conference for video game music and sound, that takes place on September 27-28 in the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. To register for the conference, please go to gamesoundcon.com

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