Discover the results of the 2022 UK Games Industry Census, the biggest survey of its kind into the demographic make up and working practices of a games industry workforce.

Introducing the results of the second UK Games Industry Census

The 2022 UK Games Industry Census is the second report exploring diversity and working practices within the UK games industry.

How was the UK Games Industry Census produced?

The census was completed by over 3,600 games workers, or around 15% of the overall games industry workforce, in Autumn 2021. Respondents were sought through an open public link and targeted recruitment methods to ensure we were able to recruit a truly representative sample of people working across games.

They were once again asked a series of questions about the work they do in their industry, their personal characteristics and their backgrounds. In addition, workers were asked about their attitudes towards the industry, about their paths of promotions and about how the pandemic affected their working practices.

As with the 2020 report, the report was independently written by Dr Mark Taylor of the University of Sheffield.

What does the census tell us about diversity in the UK Games Industry workforce?

The demographic make-up of workers in the games industry showed marginal improvements to diversity in the 2022 census when compared to 2020.

·       The gender make-up of the industry diversified slightly. According to this year’s census, 67% of the workforce is male, female is 30% and 3% is non-binary compared to 70%, 28% and 2% in 2020 respectively. 

·       The representation of different sexualities increased from the 2020 census. The number of people who reported a sexuality other than heterosexual was up to 24% from 21% in 2020 – significantly higher than in the wider adult population 

·       The games industry workforce remained young with 61% listing their age as 35 or under in 2022, although this was a slight reduction compared to 66% two years earlier.

·       The figures for ethnic groups remained similar to those reported two years ago, with 66% of the workforce reporting that they are White British, 24% as White Other, 5% as Black, 2% as Asian, 2% as Mixed/Multiple ethnicity and a further 2% as other.

·       Games industry workers are significantly more likely than the general population to have grown up in a household where the main income earner worked in a managerial or professional job or to have attended a state selective school. Over four fifths (82%) reported having at least an undergraduate qualification.

·       The games industry has more neurodivergent people working within it than the working age population. Overall, 18% of respondents reported having at least one neurodevelopmental condition. More people in games were autistic or had a condition affecting concentration, such as ADHD, than the working age population.

·       Looking at mental health, 38% of the people who responded to the census reported that they suffered from anxiety, depression or both. This is up from 31% before the pandemic.

·       The games industry workforce remains highly international, with 20% of people in the UK games industry reporting a nationality from the EEA and 9% from the rest of the world.

The census also explores in detail additional information about the UK industry workforce, such as their job roles, their location in the UK and the size of their businesses.

What does the census tell us about the impact of the pandemic on working practices?

The pandemic had a major impact on the UK games workforce in terms of changes to where they worked throughout the crisis and where they wish to work in the future.

Pre-pandemic, four fifths of the industry worked in the office but in Autumn 2021, this had shifted to four fifths working at home.

When asked about working in the future, 90% of the industry stated a preference for working from home or a hybrid approach with just 10% seeking a full time return to the office – a significant departure from the pre-pandemic norm.

What does the UK games industry think about its workplaces and the industry as a whole?

Most workers feel positively about the companies they work at, tracked by the percentage agreeing or strongly agreeing with positive statements about the company.

We saw upwards of four fifths of respondents agree that they were proud to tell others where they work, that they would recommend their company as a great place to work, that their employers were committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and that they felt any bullying and harassment are taken seriously where they work.

Attitudes towards the wider industry were also positive, but less so. A similar four fifths of people agreed that they were proud to tell others that they worked in the UK games industry, but two thirds agreed that they would recommend the industry as a great place to work.

Less than half agreed that the UK games industry is committed to diversity and inclusion and under two fifths of respondents felt that bullying and harassment were taken seriously. For the latter two answers, a significant number of people responded with neutral reactions rather than explicitly disagreeing. 

Finally, what have we learned about paths to promotion in the games industry?

We investigated career development in the UK games industry and found that in the three years preceding this census, over two fifths of game workers had been promoted at their company and one fifth had made a diagonal move to a more senior role in a different organisation. 

People aged between 26 and 35 are the most likely age group to have been promoted, with those aged 41 and above noticeably less likely to have advanced. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people are more likely than White British or White Other to have made a diagonal move, but less likely to have been directly promoted. 

Thirty-one percent of autistic people reported being directly promoted in the past three years. This figure is significantly lower than the equivalent figures for people with other neurodevelopmental conditions (including ADHD and dyslexia) and lower again than the figure for people who reported having no neurodevelopmental conditions.