Worried about being the only girl?
Scroll down for: * My experience * What support is there * How to get involved * What others say
I work as the only female consultant in an all-male games recruitment team. So, trust me I understand what it can be like being the only girl. At times it can be tough, but I learnt to use my voice and that’s part of why I’m writing this post. We need more women in this industry! Don’t be put off by entering an all-male room – ultimately, they become your friends and family, (they did for me) and chances are there will be women working in other parts of the building/company or at least soon will be!
The games industry as a whole is having a massive push to get more women involved. According to a 2017 Google Play and Newzoo study women make up nearly half of all mobile gamers and yet we are still overwhelmingly outnumbered when it comes to making them. Currently around 22% of the industry identifies as female and studios are having a big drive to increase this.
What support is there?
There are some incredible organisations such as Women in Games where you can find all sorts of information and support. You can find mentors here from some of the most powerful and successful women involved in the industry today. Girls Behind The Games is a great page to follow on Twitter with 100’s of females sharing their experiences and tips. Check out the hashtag #GirlsBehindTheGames to see some of the inspirational stories! Facebook has very recently launched a campaign #SheTalksGames to encourage more women into this amazing industry. Watch videos of real women talking about their experiences. Lastly one to keep an eye out for is Women in XR launching later this year!
How to get involved
Working as a recruiter specialising in games programmers I can tell you there are so few female coders around and we need more of you! If you have an interest in games but work in a different industry don’t let that put you off applying, a lot of studios will look at developers from other industries as long as they are good coders and can demonstrate their passion for gaming. Make some games in your spare time and be ready to talk about gaming and give it a go!
I didn’t just want this to be my opinion so I also spoke to a couple of prominent females in the industry and a couple of female developers
What other women are saying
Vicky Smalley is currently the CTO at FundamentalVR having worked in the games and interactive industry for the last 20 years. Vicky is very proud to have 2 very talented female engineers working on her team and has this advice to give “Go for it! There is a lot of support for women and working in games and related tech industries is a lot of fun. Also, my overwhelming experience has been positive, working in a creative team is incredibly rewarding and the gender of the team members doesn't change that. When I first started out I was generally the only girl in the company which was a little lonely, but things are improving and there will normally be a couple of other women around at least. This can have the effect of bonding you together - at Sony we used to get together for a "ladies lunch" where I made some great friends”
Gemma Johnson-Brown is the Chief People Office at Dovetail games. Dovetail are delighted that their female ratio is increasing year on year with a 2% increase over the past 2 years . Her advice “Network, network, network, go to meetups, join relevant social media groups, attend women in Games events and network with the ambassadors. You have the skills and the right mindset! You do not have to tick every requirement on the JD, focus on the must haves and if you don’t know how to do something, address it with solutions and ideas of how you will close the gap, look at all the roles in a company can you gain entry into the industry via a different route? Be passionate about companies products and do your research on them, play their games for those looking to change industries look at what your transferable skills are how do they match the companies requirements, what can you bring to them.”
From 2 women working as developers
“I think that if you work hard and focus on being the best you can be then you will do well regardless of your gender. So, just find what you love doing and don’t listen to anyone who tells you there isn’t place for women in the games industry! If you’re just starting out then internships and work placements are a great way of making contacts while also gaining an insight into the industry. Building a strong portfolio is also super important. You have just as much of a right to be there as anyone else so don’t let the thought of being the only girl put you off applying to that job or course that you want to do. Doing so will also encourage other girls to do the same! Being a female in this industry means that you can contribute insights and a perspective that reflects something different from the norm. Diversity of any kind is good for the industry because it results in different ideas and creations, and that’s something exciting to be a part of!”
“At first, being a woman in a male dominated industry, really affected me and held me back. I was never made to feel like an equal by some of my male colleagues and was very undervalued because I was a woman in my previous company. One of the many reasons why I wanted to join a new company. I have experienced sexism, chauvinism and bullying in the workplace due to being a woman. However over time, I realised most of this behaviour by my male colleagues, seemed to be because they felt threatened that I could be as good, god forbid better than them. So I learned to develop a thick skin to comments and used it as a challenge and as a driving point to excel and become better. After all, what better comeback than to be able to shut males down on a knowledge front and prove that women in fact don't 'belong in the kitchen'.
Being a female in this industry really helps you grow in confidence. Just in general being a developer you can come across lots of stumbling blocks when working on a project. There is nothing better than the sense of achievement you feel when you complete something. You can use being a female to your advantage, once you establish respect, many male colleagues will in fact rush to help you when needed. It helps when searching for jobs as employers want to encourage females to be a part of the team. Also, I have gained a great circle of male friends from working in a male dominated industry. I am viewed by many of my friends/colleagues as 'one of the lads', which is great because on the back of this I have a great social life”
My top tip
“Don’t let anything stop you and don’t let anyone tell you can’t. Get coding, get designing, get drawing and get involved! Reach out to women in the industry and ask for advice, it’s an incredibly friendly industry and people are always willing to help – it’s one of the reasons I love my job so much!”
The overwhelming message from everybody is don’t be afraid or put off. There are so many people pushing to make a difference and changes are being made to increase women in technological fields across the world. Come join the party and be one of them!
Get in Touch
Looking for a role? Get in touch with me on 01273 287007 or KJ@skillsearch.com
If it’s not my specific area I can put you in touch with one of my lovely colleagues to talk you through your options and give advice– they are as passionate about helping as I am.