A combination of low pay and frustration at the company’s creative direction and workplace controversies has led to a staffing crisis at Ubisoft.
As the pandemic has gone on the whole world, but particularly the US, has experienced a phenomenon known as the Great Resignation, where large numbers of people have resigned from their jobs due to low pay and a lack of worker protections.
An amplified version of the same phenomenon is allegedly occurring at Ubisoft at the moment, which staff have dubbed ‘the great exodus’ and ‘the cut artery’.
Low wages and plenty of opportunities elsewhere have been cited as two reasons for the exits, but also frustration at the company’s creative direction and the way it’s handled workplace complaints of sexual harassment.
According to a report by Axios, at least five of the 25 most senior developers from Far Cry 6 have already left Ubisoft and 12 of the top 50 from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Most of Ubisoft’s biggest studios are in Canada but the departures are at all levels of the company, including midlevel and lower-level workers who have found it easy to get work elsewhere – with one source claiming that Ubisoft is ‘an easy target for recruiters’.
Many gamers have voiced disquiet at Ubisoft’s plans to concentrate more on free-to-play live service titles and it seems staff within the company aren’t necessary pleased with the change in direction either.
At the same time, existing reports suggest that many staff were also upset at the recent debacle surrounding Ubisoft Quartz NFTs.
‘There’s something about management and creative scraping by with the bare minimum that really turned me away’, said one anonymous developer.
The problems have reportedly led to projects becoming stalled or delayed, although Ubisoft has told Axios that it believes its staff attrition rate is ‘within industry norms’.
LinkedIn puts that rate at 12%, which is higher than similarly sized rivals such as EA (9%) and Epic Games (7%) but lower than Activision Blizzard at 16%.
Activision Blizzard’s high rate of departures is due to the ongoing controversy over its workplace conditions, that has led to walkouts, several lawsuits, and rebukes from all three console manufacturers, but Ubisoft has endured its own, similar scandal.
The Ubisoft complaints of sexual harassment and toxic workplace conditions have largely been overshadowed by those at Activision Blizzard, but staff have complained that many senior staff accused of misconduct are still employed at the company.
‘I think abuse and toxicity are contributing factors but not deciding ones for most’, said one of Axios’ sources, before adding: ‘Women and people of colour experience them as deciding factors’.
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