Tuesday September 27, 2016

Female Composers in Games Industry See Gender-Based Pay Penalty, New Study Finds

As GameSoundCon, the annual conference for game music composers, is set to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 27, in Los Angeles, the profession finds itself in the dichotomous position of being in a Renaissance Age for sound technology, but in the Dark Ages when it comes to income equality, a recent industry survey shows. The penalty for being a woman in game audio is roughly equal to two years' of experience, according to an independent analysis of the survey. In other words, a woman with eight years of experience composing music for video games was compensated on the same level as a man with six years of experience.

The analysis was based on data gathered online via the Game Audio Industry Survey, which tracks compensation, working conditions, contact terms and production information for the video game music and sound industry. The survey included responses from 526 men and 51 women. The 10:1 ratio of respondents mirrors the gender composition of the industry as a whole, said Brian Schmidt, a veteran interactive music composer and sound designer and executive director of GameSoundCon, which commissions the annual industry survey. This is the first year survey organizers have commissioned an independent analysis of the gender data -- largely because there were so few women in prior surveys for there to be a valid sample, Schmidt said.