At a time when many industries are suffering from waves of layoffs as employees strive for better wages and working conditions amid a global pandemic, Ubisoft in particular seems to be struggling with unnaturally high fluctuations.
after a new report from Axios, Ubisoft has seen “massive departures” in the past 18 months, including both lower and middle-level employees and big names. Five of the top 25 people who worked on Far Cry 6 are gone, as are 12 of the top 50 names from Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Two current employees said these exits are slowing down or blocking projects.
The departures are particularly significant at Ubisoft’s Canadian studios in Montreal and Toronto, with LinkedIn showing that the two studios have shrunk by at least 60 people in six months. Retiring employees informed Axios that, especially in Montreal, a preponderance of competing offers in new studios was a main reason for the high fluctuation – even though Ubisofts Offers for nationwide salary increases served to slow the tide.
Aside from competing opportunities, current and former employees cited low pay, frustration with the creative leadership, and discomfort with Ubisoft’s handling of its recent (and ongoing) #MeToo settlement – which itself led to a series of public exits amid allegations of toxic behavior – like reasons Ubisoft was fertile ground for recruiters.
As a former employee who left this year said after trying to get involved in corporate culture reform, “They kept stressing ‘keep going’ and ‘looking ahead’ while listening to their complaints, worries and screams Employees ignored … The company’s reputation was too much to bear. It’s embarrassing, and rightly so. “
Ubisoft responded to the Axios report by claiming that its turnover rate (which LinkedIn claims to be 12%) was a few percentage points above normal, but still within industry norms. For context, Activision-Blizzard’s rate (per LinkedIn) is 16%. EAs is 9%, Take-Twos is 8% and Epic Games is 7%. the average turnover rate in the games industry in January 2020 was 15.5%.
Ubisoft added that it has hired 2,600 people since April, though Axios notes it had hired over 4,500 people in the past full years.
Just last week, Ubisoft announced it green light for a Splinter Cell remake at Ubisoft Toronto, an announcement that apparently was made to attract more talent as it was directly linked to a hiring boost in the studio.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.