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More Women In Game Composition Than Ever, But Gender Pay Gap Looms Large

As the organizers of GameSoundCon were gearing up for their convention for game sound workers, they sent out a survey that was aimed at collecting data on salary, the breakdown of salary and compensation by gender, figuring out if there was a correlation between years in the industry and compensation, and more. And just before their con was set to being, they released the results of their survey.

Even though they found that more women are reporting income from game audio than ever before (10.4% reported this year, 7% from 2015, and 3.5% in 2014), the survey found that consistently women were paid less than their male counterparts.

Looking at these numbers, they decided to hire a professional statistician, Dr. Mary Siegrist, PhD from IMSA Consulting, to analyze whether the pay discrepancy was based on gender or if it was due to another factor, like fewer years of experience in the field.

Siegrist found that while there is a positive correlation between experience and pay, aka the longer you work in the field, the more money you’re paid, the pay gap between men and women was a result of gender, not experience.

The study found that the cost of being a woman was the equivalent to 2.15 years of experience, meaning that women are paid as if they had 2.15 fewer years of experience than men.

In an interview with Billboard, GameSoundCon’s Executive Director Brian Schmidt said that the convention is going to do a few things to try to address the pay gap in their field. They will be acknowledging the bias at a roundtable discussion at the conference. They also plan to schedule a “disproportionate number of women speakers at the conference, both to broaden the perception of what a game music composer should look like and to encourage more women to seek leadership roles.”

The gap in pay between genders doesn’t only exist in the game sound field. Just a few weeks ago, the  International Game Developers Association released the results from their Developer Satisfaction Survey, which highlighted pay inequalities between men and women, and men and people of color. Both studies highlight the need to do more to bring equality and representation to the video game field.

Caylie Sadin
Caylie is a writer and all around nerd. She started reading fantasy novels when she was 8, which naturally led her into playing DnD. Her favorite video game series is Dragon Age and her favorite book is “The Name of the Wind.”
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Caylie Sadin
Caylie is a writer and all around nerd. She started reading fantasy novels when she was 8, which naturally led her into playing DnD. Her favorite video game series is Dragon Age and her favorite book is "The Name of the Wind."

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