Female Game Workers: Career Development, and Aspirations

Female Game Workers: Career Development, and Aspirations

Julie Prescott (University of Bolton, UK) and Jan Bogg (University of Liverpool, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6142-4.ch011
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Understanding the career factors that influence women's career aspirations in male-dominated occupations is important for increasing women's progression within these occupations. This chapter assesses the impact of career influencers on career aspirations of women working in the male-dominated computer games industry. An online questionnaire obtained international data from 450 women working in the computer games industry. A structural equation model was employed to investigate the influencers. Findings suggest that to increase women's career development and career aspirations within the computer games industry, self-efficacy, attitudes towards career barriers, work-life balance attitudes, person-environment fit and job satisfaction are crucial.
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Within the workforce men and women are segregated into certain occupations, industries and levels. Although women are increasing in the workforce, some jobs are defined as women’s jobs and others as men’s (horizontal segregation). There is also segregation in the form of working in the lower levels (vertical segregation) within sectors and organisations. Gendered occupational segregation persists in many societies including the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe and the UK despite legislation to counter this. This is evidenced through the newer technology industry of computer games development (Prescott & Bogg, 2013). The computer games industry falls within the Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) sector. The computer games industry is, however, a relatively new industry or approximately four decades, compared to some of the more established industries within the sector such as engineering. Although women are increasingly becoming gamers, especially more casual gamers their representation as game workers in all aspects of the game development process is limited and they are still on the periphery of the game culture and industry (Prescott & Bogg, 2014). According to Skillset (2009) women represent just 4% of the UK’s computer games industries workforce, a reduction from 12% in 2008.Similar figures have been reported in America (Gourdin, 2005), and Canada (Dyer-Whitheford & Sharman, 2005). Highlighting the need for research into this area in order to understand why this might be the case. There have been a number of reasons put forward as to why women are under represented within the computer games industry. For instance, the lack of flexible working hours, and the long hours culture associated with the industry (Prescott & Bogg, 2010; Consalvo, 2008; Deuze et al, 2007; Haines, 2004; Krotoski, 2004). It can therefore be seen that there are a number of workforce issues associated with the computer games industry especially for the developmental areas of computer games development such as design, production, writing and programming. According to Consalvo (2008), what the games industry needs is to not only increase its diversity, but also change the organisational structures in order to maintain a more diverse workforce. It is therefore important not only to understand why women do not enter or remain within male-dominated industries such as computer games, but also to gain an understanding of women who are working in male-dominated industries.

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