At a time when many industries are suffering from waves of resignations as employees seek better pay and working conditions in the midst of a global pandemic, Ubisoft in particular appears to be dealing with unnaturally high turnover.
According to a new report from Axios, Ubisoft has seen “massive departures” over the past 18 months, including both lower and mid-level employees as well as big names. Five of the top 25 credited people who worked on Far Cry 6 are gone, as well as 12 of the top 50 credited names from Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Two current employees said that these departures are slowing or stalling projects.
The departures are especially significant at Ubisoft’s Canadian studios in Montreal and Toronto, with LinkedIn showing the two studios are down at least 60 total people in six months. Departing employees told Axios that in Montreal in particular, a preponderance of competing offers at new studios was a major reason for the high attrition — though Ubisoft’s offers of across-the-board pay increases served to slow the tide.
Aside from competing opportunities, current and former employees cited low pay, frustration at creative direction, and unease at Ubisoft’s handling of its recent (and ongoing) #MeToo reckoning — which itself resulted in a number of public departures amid allegations of toxic behavior — as reasons that Ubisoft was fertile ground for recruiters.
As one former employee who left this year said after trying to involve themselves in company culture reform, “They constantly emphasized ‘moving on’ and ‘looking forward’ while ignoring the complaints, concerns and cries of their employees… The company’s reputation was too much to bear. It’s legitimately embarrassing.”
Ubisoft responded to the Axios report by asserting that its attrition rate (which LinkedIn reports as 12 percent) was a few percentage points above normal but still within industry norms. For context, Activision-Blizzard’s rate (per LinkedIn) is 16 percent. EA’s is 9 percent, Take-Two’s is 8 percent, and Epic Games’s is 7 percent. The average games industry attrition rate as of January 2020 was 15.5 percent.
Ubisoft also added that it has hired 2,600 workers since April, though Axios notes in past full years it had hired over 4,500 people.
Just last week, Ubisoft announced it had greenlit a Splinter Cell remake at Ubisoft Toronto, an announcement seemingly made in a bid to attract more talent as it was directly tied to a hiring push at the studio.