Op-Ed: Paving the path for greater representation in gaming and esports
By Kelly Chiew, Head of Public Relations, MOONTON Games
Female representation within the gaming industry needs more work, especially in professional esports. There is a significant gender disparity in executive-level positions within the sector, and global gaming companies are no exception. A study by 20-first, a business consultancy that works to create gender balance in organisations, found that men took up 84 per cent of board-level roles. While we have made considerable strides in deploying AI to create prompts, eye-catching advertisements, memes, and the metaverse, the same cannot be said about fair representation in workforces of our own kind.
There have been many times when I have met a passionate and driven individual, looking to break into the sector, but couldn't put a step forward due to a lack of opportunities like internships or attachment programmes. This is a huge reason why it's also equally difficult to hire the right kind of talent in our industry; as many are not provided the right foundations to kick-start a career in esports and the pool of talent is ultimately reduced.
More must be done to promote an inclusive environment in this sector. This could include supporting working mothers and re-assessing diversity at the boardroom level. Many talented marketers and communicators are so much more than their gender or skin colour – they are empowered individuals who have the leadership capability to push us all to greater heights.
One way to enhance representation in esports is to ensure that marketing and communication teams are diverse and inclusive and that hiring teams implement policies that recognise this talent from underrepresented groups. Companies should also provide training and support for all employees to ensure they are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to create more inclusive content. Other initiatives could include flexible working hours and providing opportunities for female employees to progress to future executive-level roles.
Moreover, directors and leaders need to listen to feedback and respond to the growing demand for more diverse and inclusive content. This can be achieved through regular surveys, focus groups, and engagement with players on social media and other platforms.
By actively engaging with the community and responding to their needs, gaming companies can create more inclusive and engaging games that appeal to a wider range of players and potentially inspire the next generation of female leaders to step up and "buff" their teams. Change needs to be expressed inside and out for gaming and esports organisations.
Greater representation and diversity within the gaming and esports industry is not just another objective to hit the diversity ratio, but a necessary step towards a more inclusive and engaging community. By actively promoting and supporting underrepresented groups, creating diverse and inclusive game content, and recognising the broader social and cultural implications of representation, we can create a more vibrant and thriving gaming and esports community that benefits us all.