Global Game Industry News Blog

Monday, April 23, 2007

IT Work Sucks Time? Game Work is Worse...

So, thinking about diversity in the video game industry is important. Most people in the video game industry think it is important. While they might qualitatively have issues about encouraging women and minorities, what I think is interesting is that for the most part people haven't linked up the Quality of Life (QoL) discussion with this.

It's obvious, game companies by and large have very little in the way of HR or infrastructure, not to mention child care or many of the things that actively discourage women from getting into the field.

If more mature IT companies haven't managed to figure it out, I'd doubt that most game companies can figure it out.

The structural conditions of the game industry are something the I hope once I've finished with my dissertation, and hopefully made the conversion into a book that it becomes a new object of discussion.

Oddly all of this homebrew and access and ... frequently comes back to the fact that by and large the video game industry has actively disabled its own mechanisms for learning from their own mistakes. Combined with churn rates and nothing in the way of institutional memory, you're bound to repeat the mistakes of the past... over and over.

Gartner - Gartner Advises IT Leaders to Recognise Complementary Gender Strengths
"Psychologists tell us that women, on average, are better than men at building trust and collaboration that underlie relationships," said Mark Raskino, research vice president and Gartner fellow. "They excel at listening, in communications and social skills and in understanding other people's views. A battle of the sexes for the important emerging skills and roles in IT would be healthy, but it's typically such a male dominated function that there's not even an active debate."

Gartner said that chief information officers (CIOs) worldwide are increasingly focused on recruiting people who can build relationships across multiple stakeholders, cultures and orientations. However, it warned they risk failure in many global initiatives if they are not able to attract and retain talented women in their IT organisations. "CIOs currently don't seem to be aware that social networking systems, vendor and portfolio management, collaborative knowledge work and several other areas in IT would benefit from typically female capability traits," said Mr Raskino.

According to Kathy Harris, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, businesses have traditionally focused on resolving gender diversity issues with a series of tools intended to get more women in business and management positions. "Most traditional programmes have looked to change the way people feel, their organisational culture or they have simply waited for women to catch-up. But it is next to impossible to change the way people feel or think and it takes years to change organisational culture. Most organisations have made little or no progress and most women will give up long before they catch up."

Ms Harris highlighted that as we are on the brink of a true global environment, diversity is not an ‘HR initiative' but an inherent factor in every exchange, conversation or meeting. This demands traits and capabilities that span established stereotypes, psychology and behaviours.

"The solution is to change the game. Given the ambitious business drivers ahead of them, businesses and IT organisations specifically can't afford to miss their objectives because they fail to attract half the talent base. Diversity is not common sense or an issue of policy; it's business survival," Ms Harris added.

Gartner concluded that IT organisations need to redevelop their capabilities and this requires the gender mix to change.

Computerworld - IT Managers Fear Growing Technical Gender Gap
Weary of answering late-night alerts and troubleshooting calls, Bethany King finally had enough. Six months ago, she closed the book on a 12-year stretch as an IT storage administration professional to become an IT auditor.

"I had a 14-year-old daughter that I didn't want to leave alone at 3 a.m.," said King, who was allowed to shift to the more flexible IT job at The Empire District Electric Co., a Joplin, Mo.-based electricity supplier.

"That really was one of the reasons I got out. I could've made it work, but it's just a choice that I made not to," she added, noting that her husband is a firefighter who works various shifts.
Some attendees noted that not only are women leaving such jobs, few are showing interest in joining the expanding profession.

The U.S. economy is expected to add 1.5 million IT jobs by 2012, according to Department of Labor statistics. At the same time, Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc. predicts that by 2012, 40% of women now in the IT workforce will move away from technical career paths to pursue more flexible business, functional, and research and development careers.
Dot Brunette, network and storage manager at Meijer Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer and a 30-year IT veteran, said that women are tending to migrate out of IT-related storage jobs because of their long hours and the demands that users of such technology can place upon them.

"IT is very much a culture and it consumes a lot of time," said Brunette. "I think women in that regard are at a real disadvantage." She noted that companies can fail to attract female workers, or see them leave key IT jobs because they fail "to provide day care at work, or work-at-home options for someone who leaves to have a child."

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  • I say work sucks, period (though I did always think it might be cool to be in game dev). Some of us prefer to make insightful commentary about the situation. Others prefer to make crappy satire websites to deal with it:

    Hope this isn't seem as spam. I do think it's important to step back and laugh at the absurdity of it all now and then.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/26/2007 09:02:00 PM  

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