UK Games Industry Census Results 2022 – Splash Damage & UKIE
March 25, 2022
What is the UK Games Industry Census?
Last week, UKIE released the UK Games Industry Census for 2022: a mammoth undertaking that seeks to “provide deeper insight into the demographic make-up and working habits of the UK games industry.” The ultimate goal is building an equal and diverse sector and making the UK the best place in the world to work when it comes to video games.
The insight that the census provides means that the sector can see where it’s succeeding or failing in this goal. 2020’s census inspired conversation and real action, like sign-ups to UKIE’s #RaiseTheGame pledge and supporting groups working to improve representation.
The UK games industry census helps our sector lead the world on efforts to build an industry that better reflects our players – now and for the future.Dr Jo Twist, CEO UKIE
We compiled our own census at the end of 2020 to see how we compared to the industry at large, and this year we’ve done the same.
We’ve been poring over the results of both reports and the results have been fascinating.
Both censuses cover a wide range of topics but there are three areas that we and UKIE see as particularly important:
Who works for Splash Damage?
Representation of marginalised genders and the LGBTQ+ community has been an important issue within the games industry for many years. There are a wide range of organisations and initiatives working to improve it, like Code Coven and Out Making Games.
The UK Games Industry census reports that, since 2020, the percentage of female respondents has increased from 28% to 30%. While good to see, it’s still a long way off from the UK’s overall workforce which is around 48% female. At Splash Damage that number’s slightly risen to 21%, from 20% in 2020.
While we are a bit behind, our percentage of non-binary respondents has risen from 2% to 5%. In the UKIE census, this rose from 2% to 3%. This year we also included gender-fluid and gender-questioning options which accounted for another 2% of respondents each.
We also asked “Is this the same as the gender you were assigned at birth?” and at Splash Damage, 7% of respondents answered with ‘no’. This number is 4% in the UKIE census.
We’re very similar to the rest of the UK games industry when it comes to respondents’ sexualities. 74% of our respondents said they are heterosexual, 11% bisexual, and 6% lesbian/gay. The remaining 9% was split between queer, pansexual, asexual or other. This compares to 76%, 12%, 5% and 7% respectively industry-wide.
We recognise that we do have continued work to do on increasing the number of women at the studio. However, we believe the other figures show that Splash Damage is a studio where everyone’s welcome and can be themselves.
At the time of our 2020 census, our VP of People said
I want to continue to enable people to be their whole selves at work; not to worry about putting on a front, or being within themselves, or even changing the way they dress to come here. I want this to be a safe space for everyone.Steve Hessel, Splash Damage
We think we’ve achieved this over the past two years, and we’ll continue to work hard into 2023 and beyond.
Looking after our mental health
The past two years have been incredibly tough on us all, to say the least. There’s been no shortage of reports on how many people across the UK saw their mental health suffer.
We carried out our last census in December so we don’t have figures for how people were feeling pre-pandemic. However, the percentage of respondents suffering from depression has still risen from 17% in 2020 to 21% in 2022. Those suffering from anxiety has risen from 25% to 33%, and other listed conditions have seen an increase of 8% to 11%.
Over at UKIE, 18% of respondents said that they had both anxiety and depression in 2022. For separate conditions, it looks like 15% anxiety, 5% depression and 12% other. However, UKIE released their 2020 census in February which gives us some insight into pre-pandemic numbers. At that time, the figures were 15% for anxiety and depression, 10% anxiety, 6% depression and 4% other conditions.
It’s also striking to see that women, and LGBTQ+ and non-binary people suffer from anxiety and depression at a much higher rate than men or heterosexual people. This is the case for both Splash Damage and the wider UK games industry.
While our numbers are higher than UKIE’s, this may be down to something mentioned in our recent Wellness Week blog. We found that efforts to protect employees’ mental health saw many open and honest conversations, something which continues even now.
That blog has some great insight into the work we’ve been doing, but we’re not stopping yet. We’re constantly improving and adding to our mental health support. We’ll also be looking for additional or specific support for those employees who are more likely to be struggling.
The future of work
The final key area that the UK Games Industry Census highlighted looks to the future and where respondents would prefer to work.
66% of UK games industry respondents were office-based prior to the pandemic, and 18% didn’t yet work in games. It’s not surprising to see that this had shifted to 80% working from home in 2021. What may or may not be surprising, is that only 10% of respondents want to return to the office full-time. The majority (52%) would prefer a mix of home and office working and 38% want to stay working from home.
At Splash Damage, we were almost entirely office-based until March 2020 when we shifted to working from home. This means that the figures aren’t an exact comparison, but 52% of our respondents would like to adopt hybrid working. Just under 30% were looking to stay working from home.
18% prefer heading to the office, and last summer we partially reopened for those who needed to return.
The high number of people preferring to work from home or a hybrid mix isn’t entirely surprising. That’s why we’re supporting a hybrid working model. This will ensure we accommodate as many Splashers’ needs as possible.
We’re also refurbishing our office buildings to make working here (whether full or part-time) as enjoyable as possible. We’ve also invested heavily in technology to make working with remote staff seamless.
Creating a better games industry for our teams, players and communities isn’t something that happens overnight. It requires hard work, resources and constant reflection.
These censuses give us the essential insight we need to know if what we’re doing is working or not. They also help alert us to new trends or issues. We’d like to thank both UKIE and Cinzia, our D&I Advisor, for everything they’ve done to pull them both together!
Follow us on social media to keep up with what we’re doing to make Splash Damage a more inclusive place. You can also sign up for our newsletter; we’ll be talking about Women’s History Month in the next issue!
If you’re looking for a new challenge somewhere where you can be yourself, check out our open roles at careers.splashdamage.com.