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Advancing Diversity in Gaming

Examining gaming’s workforce and the road ahead

Advancing Diversity in Gaming

Unlike any previous era, consumers, investors and policymakers are raising their expectations for how companies contribute to society beyond the bottom line. That includes employing a workforce that is representative of the communities where they conduct business.

For gaming, we have long invested in efforts to foster an inclusive and diverse workforce, provide equal opportunities and development for employees, and ensure that our workforce reflects the communities where we operate. These efforts have paid off: according to our American Attitudes survey, three in four Americans view our industry as having a diverse workforce and providing opportunities for growth and advancement, irrespective of demographic background.

Being committed to diversity also requires an honest evaluation of where we stand. To this end, the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) recent Gaming Industry Workforce Report provides a benchmark on the current state of diversity in our industry. We asked AGA member companies to provide their Equal Employment Opportunity Commission submissions that detail how their workforces break down along racial and gender lines across job functions.

Drawing on data provided by 26 AGA commercial and tribal operators and gaming manufacturers, the report findings show both areas of strength and opportunities in the years ahead.

When it comes to minority representation, our industry boasts a strong record:

The gaming industry workforce is significantly more diverse than the larger hospitality sector and U.S. workforce as a whole. Sixty-one percent of gaming industry employees are minorities, compared to 52 percent of the broader hospitality industry and 42 percent of the total U.S. workforce.

Among operators, there has been a 20 percent increase in workforce racial diversity over the last decade. Sixty percent of operator employees are minorities, up nearly 20 percent from 2011 and higher than the hospitality sector and national workforces overall.

Gaming manufacturers have a more diverse workforce than other electronic manufacturing employers. Forty-five percent of gaming manufacturer employees are minorities, compared to 38 percent of the broader electronic manufacturing workforce.

Gaming’s leadership pipeline is significantly more diverse than national averages. Forty-five percent of first/mid-level managers—those within two steps of the C-suite—are minorities while 43 percent of professionals are minorities, both 10 to 12 points above national and hospitality benchmarks.

Gender diversity, however, presents a growth opportunity for the industry. Gaming’s workforce is 48 percent female, in line with the national workforce, but representation drops off at more senior-level job classifications. The data shows a similar decline in racial diversity at senior levels, despite being above national and hospitality benchmarks.

This report gives us something to be proud of but, perhaps more importantly, it also gives us a guide for where to focus our efforts in the months and years ahead. As we look to raise the bar and build on our strengths, we need to consider how we invest in diversity to provide ladders into the executive and C-suite, the role of mentorship and training programs in ensuring diverse talent sees a career in gaming, and how to ensure those leading DEI efforts are empowered to drive outcomes.

Advancing DEI requires everyone’s participation. Our members are investing in this space, whether setting and measuring goals for board and executive diversity, partnering with historically black colleges and universities, or establishing robust employee resource group programs. Organizations like Global Gaming Women, African Americans in Gaming and the All-In Diversity Project are providing a spotlight on these issues while delivering networking, education and resources for industry professionals.

For our part, as part of our ESG platform, the AGA identified strengthening DEI as an area where we can make an impact at the industry level. This benchmarking report is an essential first step. We’ve established a member working group to convene DEI professionals and executive allies to help blaze the trail in this effort by sharing best practices and lessons learned and informing AGA’s future DEI efforts.

The reality is this work doesn’t have a finish line. It’s a commitment we need to continue to make because not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also good for business.

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