An Irish video game workers union, Game Workers Unite, has published the findings of a report on the status of pay in the industry. Shocking absolutely no one, those in QA, administration, and localisation earn below-average pay, and only 15 percent of workers are paid for their overtime.
A lack of pay transparency hurts workers, it's that simple. The report found that over 90 percent of pay increases were not published or disclosed to employees, meaning people who assume they are learning the same amount as their coworkers will often be very wrong, therefore undervaluing their own work.
The report also found that over 40 percent of workers do not receive annual pay rises. Inflation and costs of living rise every year, but when wages do not, people start to slip below the poverty line. Already, 15 percent of workers in the Irish games industry are paid below the living wage of €12.30, which is unacceptable considering the value of the video game market there is over €240 million as of 2017.
On top of low wages, a lack of pay transparency, and infrequent pay rises, almost 80 percent of video game workers don't receive employer contributions to a pension scheme, meaning their chances of retiring comfortably are drastically reduced.
QA, admin, and localisation are all jobs that are essential to the smooth running of a developer and its games, so underpaying them is going to lead to issues like bugs, delays, and accidentally insulting Arabs by marking their names as inappropriate.
This report from Game Workers Unite Ireland was posted with the #GameDevPaidMe hashtag, which is intended to reveal pay disparity between different specialisations, genders, and minorities in game development.
It has revealed that those in game development are typically paid far less than people with the same skills and similar jobs in other industries, such as IT or film and television writing. Unions in other industries help to advocate for fair worker rights, such as proper pay and benefits. Hopefully, this report convinces more people to unionise, as Game Workers Unite Australia has just done.
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