High Employment Rates Among Alumni

Alumni of game-based programs fare well on the overall market. The percentage of alumni reporting gainful employment after a single year on the market was 93.1%, more than 8% higher than national employment rates for college graduates four years post graduation. More than half of alumni surveyed work within the video game industry (55.8%).

Contributions Beyond the Video Game Workforce

Game-based programs prepare students for more than just the games industry, however. While 55.8% of respondents work within the video game industry, the other 44.2% contribute to other vital industries, including education (26.8%), software development (5.8%), and government/security/defense (2.2%). Thus, a solid education in game design prepares students fo more than just the games industry itself.

Well-Paying Jobs

Alumni of game-based programs also earn higher salaries. Graduates who participated in this survey earn an estimated average salary of $76,200 annually for full-time positions, or $24,000 more than the U.S. national average for college graduates with full-time jobs. Findings show little difference between the average salary for those working within the video game industry and those working outside of it, although graduate degree holders do significantly out-earn alumni with only undergraduate degrees.

Higher Job Satisfaction

Finally, game-based program alumni report overall high rates of workplace well-being on the Cantril scale, with 82.9% classified as "thriving" out in the workplace. Additional items measuring autonomy, connectedness, sense of purpose, and satisfaction in career path and current employment context confirm these findings. Alumni working full-time reported even greater satisfaction than those working only part-time, and alumni working within the video game industry reported greater well-being than those working in other industries.


The success of the video game industry begins with education. Enrollment of video game-related programs continues to grow, demonstrating the interest and strength in this course of study at universities and colleges nationwide and internationally.
Responding game-based programs in higher education account for a total of 7,675 undergraduate students in the United States and four other countries. Such programs are most commonly established within computer and information sciences (roughly 43,000 total undergraduate degrees per year in the States), engineering and engineering technologies (roughly 93,000 per year), and visual and performing arts (roughly 94,000).1

Gender Diversity

Undergraduate video game programs show a notable level of diversity, by nearly a two to one margin, than other computer science and STEM-related programs. Key survey findings include:
The average percentage of women in undergraduate programs is slightly more than 30%, with highest representation reported at 57% women. The average is nearly 33% at the graduate level. By contrast, women made up 17.6% of undergraduate and 28.2% of master’s degrees conferred in computer and information sciences, and 17.2% of undergraduate and 22.7% of master’s degrees in engineering and engineering technologies2. The involvement of female perspectives in the industry pipeline is especially relevant as women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (36%) than boys 18 or younger (17%), and the number of female gamers age 50 and older increased by 32% from 2012 to 2013.3

  1. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Higher Education General Information Survey, “Degrees and Other Formal Awards Conferred” surveys, 1970-71 through 1985-86; Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), "Completions Survey" (IPEDS-C:87-89); and IPEDS Fall 2000 through Fall 2011, Completions component (tables prepared in July 2012).
  2. Ibid
  3. "2014 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry" by the Entertainment Software Association (
  4. ACT "College Student Retention and Graduation Rates from 2000 through 2014" (