Yesterday, we covered Bloomberg’s report on how Blizzard employees were circulating a spreadsheet of their wages and raises in an effort to determine whether Blizzard had gone far enough with its promises to dispense fair pay, particularly in light of increased duties following the 2019 layoffs. As we noted, employees told stories of skipping meals and living on coffee and oatmeal and postponing starting families because of the poor pay, which is nonsensical for a company that just pulled in $1.93 billion in revenue last quarter. Even Activision-Blizzard shareholders are grumbling over those pay disparities, to the point that almost half voted against Bobby Kotick’s Say-on-Pay policy. (None of this was addressed during yesterday’s investor call, mind you.)
Bloomberg has a follow-up piece out today suggesting that Blizzard employees are now organizing behind the scenes, preparing a list of demands for the company, including “changes to how promotions are doled out, increased vacation time and pay bumps for members of the customer service and quality assurance departments.” Current and former employees told the publication that wages are so low at Blizzard that staff are fleeing to secure pay raises “as high as 75% or 100%” at rival companies. This is obviously bad not just for the teams but for the health and future of the games too.
“In the employee document reviewed by Bloomberg, workers wrote that some are being paid below $40,000 a year. That’s less than half of the median household income in Irvine, California, where Blizzard’s main campus is based. The dynamics are having an impact on staff retention, according to the document. ‘Our mentors are leaving in droves,’ the employees wrote.”
Blizzard representatives have promised to “continue to adapt” compensation and said the company “look[s] forward to hearing from [employees] directly.”