During a global pandemic, many industries are experiencing waves of resignations as employees seek better pay and working conditions, but Ubisoft appears to be experiencing unusually high turnover.
According to a new report from Axios, Ubisoft has experienced “massive departures” in the last 18 months, including lower and mid-level employees as well as big names. Five of the top 25 credited people on Far Cry 6, as well as 12 of the top 50 credited names on Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, have left the company. These departures, according to two current employees, are slowing or halting projects.
The losses are most noticeable at Ubisoft’s Canadian facilities in Montreal and Toronto, which have lost at least 60 individuals in the last six months, according to LinkedIn. Exiting employees told Axios that a glut of competing offers from new studios was a big factor in the high turnover rate in Montreal, while Ubisoft’s offers of uniform wage hikes helped to stem the tide.
Apart from competing opportunities, current and former employees cited low pay, dissatisfaction with creative direction, and unease with Ubisoft’s handling of its recent (and ongoing) #MeToo reckoning — which resulted in some public departures amid allegations of toxic behavior — as reasons why the company was fertile ground for recruiters.
After attempting to participate in company culture reform, one former employee who left this year said, “They insisted on moving on’ and ‘looking forward,’ while ignoring their employees’ complaints, concerns, and cries… It was impossible to bear the company’s reputation. It’s genuinely humiliating.”
In response to the Axios report, Ubisoft stated that its attrition rate (which LinkedIn reports as 12 percent) was a few percentage points higher than average but still within industry norms. For comparison, Activision-rate Blizzard’s is 16 percent (according to LinkedIn). EA has a 9 percent market share, Take-Two has an 8 percent market share, and Epic Games has a 7 percent market share. As of January 2020, the average attrition rate in the games industry was 15.5 percent.
Ubisoft also stated that it has hired 2,600 people since April, even though Axios reports that it has hired over 4,500 people in previous full years. Ubisoft said last week that it had greenlit a Splinter Cell remake at Ubisoft Toronto, an announcement that appeared to be made in an attempt to lure additional talent because it was linked to a hiring push at the company.