Ubisoft is increasing wages across its Canadian studios in a bid to retain key talent.
As reported by Kotaku, however, some employees are worried the wage bump will reinforce existing inequalities at the company, which has come under fire over the past 18 months after a wave of serious misconduct and harassment allegations.
Sources told Kotaku that while the wage increase will be implemented at all levels, those already on the highest salaries will receive the biggest raises. Workers are also due to receive extra vacation days and better pay during parental leave.
Pro-worker group A Better Ubisoft (ABU), which has been publicly taking Ubisoft to task over what it perceives as a failure to curb toxicity and reprimand known abusers, claims junior staff will be handed a 5 to 7 percent wage increase while some senior employees receive a 20 percent raise.
“These moves do absolutely nothing to address the key demands of A Better Ubisoft,” ABU told Kotaku. “In addition, by weighting the pay rises enormously in favor of senior staff, management are exacerbating the gap between the highly and low paid workers.”
Last week, ABU called on Ubisoft to do more than offer “assurances” it will implement meaningful cultural reforms, and called out the French company for failing to meet any of its key demands. The group is currently asking anyone who supports its cause to sign a petition demanding Ubisoft amend its “shockingly controlling approach” to investigating and punishing abusers.
“16 months since Ubisoft was forced to take limited action following public posts on Twitter, you talk about ‘a strategic roadmap of change for HR’ that you are ‘getting ready to start rolling out’ giving no timeline for delivery nor any hint of what those changes will be,” said ABU.
“You offer nothing more than your assurance that all investigations are impartial, all sanctions are appropriate and that victims and witnesses are protected, while offering us no evidence, involvement or oversight in any part of the process.”
Earlier this year, Ubisoft suggested the “occurrence of inappropriate behaviour by employees” could hinder its ability to hire and retain talent. In a universal registration document shared online, the Assassin’s Creed publisher upgraded the risk of failing to “attract and retain talent” to “high,” and said the change was in part due to increasing pressure from direct competitors.
In a statement handed to Kotaku, Ubisoft reiterated those remarks and said the Canadian market has “changed dramatically” where wages are concerned.
“This year, the market has changed dramatically in Canada and that is why this adjustment starting at 5 percent and up was intended to partially address this issue, the first time we are doing a mid-year increase,” said a Ubisoft spokesperson
“There will still be another adjustment to come in April, as usual. This is the first of a number of initiatives we are announcing to provide a competitive employer offer, and as part of our broader ongoing changes.”