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TIGA: Improvements in UK education as important as diversity

CEO Wilson says improvements in the UK's education system are as equally crucial as greater workforce diversity

TIGA - the national trade association that represents games developers in the UK and in Europe - said that while greater workforce diversity in the games industry was important, improvements in the UK's education system were equally crucial.

"The games industry's workforce is relatively homogenous," said CEO Richard Wilson.

"Skillset, the sector skill council for the creative industries, estimates that of the electronic games workforce, 8 per cent are women, 3 per cent are from ethnic minorities, few are disabled and the majority are aged 34 or below."

Wilson said that developers want to recruit and retain the best teams available - irrespective of their backgrounds - knowing that a more diverse workforce could enable them to create games that appeal to different audiences and so potentially expand their businesses.

"Developers also recognise that efforts to recruit from a more diverse pool of candidates could help to ease skills shortages," he said.

"For example, the potential to recruit more women into the games industry in the future is significant. Girls already outperform boys in mathematics at GCSE level - one of the foundations for studying subjects vital to employment in the games industry."

As games developers need an increase in the supply of mathematics and science graduates to meet their skill needs, this in turn means that primary and secondary schools need to enable more pupils to achieve higher levels of attainment in mathematics and the sciences at GCSE and at A level, Wilson said.

Yet Ofsted reported this week that students are increasingly abandoning sciences at A level in favour of "softer" subjects.

Wilson said that the provision of more good quality teachers is crucially important to reverse this trend.

"The Government must improve standards in education amongst all groups in society so that games developers can recruit as widely as possible."

The TIGA CEO's comments came in response to remarks made by Chris Satchell, GM and Chief XNA Architect of the XNA Group at Microsoft Corp, at the Games Horizon Conference 2008 about the need for greater diversity in the games industry's workforce.

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