Employees at Blizzard Entertainment have recently begun to share their salary and pay increase information with each other via a spreadsheet. This signals rising tensions over wage disparities in the video game industry.
Interestingly, this comes a year after an internal survey in 2019 revealed that more than half of Blizzard employees were unhappy with their pay. This led to Blizzard promising a study to ensure fair pay, the results of which were implemented last month. According to reports, this led to a bit of outrage over Blizzard’s Slack messaging channels.
The spreadsheet was created by one employee who managed to encourage other staff to share their salary and pay increase information. The document remains anonymous and was reviewed by Bloomberg News.
According to Bloomberg News, the majority of the raises were below 10%, which is significantly less than what Blizzard employees were expecting. Bloomberg News says that one Blizzard employee received a raise of less than 50 cents an hour. Blizzard employees even say that they are struggling to make ends meet even while Blizzard’s revenue grows each year.
Recently, CtW Investment Group, a pro-labor group, criticized Blizzard for handing out multi million-dollar rewards to CEOs. Chief Executive Officer, Bobby Kotick received compensation worth $40 million by the end of 2019 – which has grown since Blizzard’s company stock has soared. Blizzard also paid $15 million in stock awards and a sign-on bonus to Dennis Durkin, the Chief Financial Officer. Dieter Waizenegger, executive director of CtW said the following:
“Activision Blizzard’s skewed approach to human capital management — lavishing multi million-dollar rewards on the CEO as employees face layoffs — needs to be addressed before it manifests in deeper operational problems,”
In the past few years, Activision’s corporate office has reportedly pushed Blizzard to try and cut costs. Just last year, hundreds of jobs (8% of the workforce) were cut from Blizzard while remaining staff were expected to take on the responsibilities of those who lost their jobs. According to employees at the company, these additional responsibilities did not come with extra pay.
However, Blizzard has kicked back and highlighted that the top performers received a salary increase that was 20% more than in prior years and some people got promotions. This is according to a Blizzard spokesperson, Jessica Taylor.
“Our goal has always been to ensure we compensate our employees fairly and competitively. We are constantly reviewing compensation philosophies to better recognize the talent of our highest performers and keep us competitive in the industry, all with the aim of rewarding and investing more in top employees.”