Ubisoft’s Canadian studios have announced salary increases for staff at Assassin‘s Creed and Far cry publisher to fight against the exodus of many of its most experienced developers, Kotaku has learned. While the increases are through boredom, sources say Kotaku that those who currently earn the most will see the largest increases, prompting criticism that the new perks will reinforce existing inequalities in studios.
Ubisoft Canada, which is leading the development of several of the company’s biggest blockbusters, such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Far cry 6, and Guard Dog Legion, consists of offices in Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Chicoutimi, Halifax and Winnipeg. The new pay increases are expected to take effect immediately and will begin to be paid in late November. Employees will also receive more vacation days and better pay during parental leave.
“They are desperately trying to hold onto what few experienced developers are yet around,” said a current developer at Canadian studios. Kotaku.
But the exact amount of the increases will vary depending on the employee’s position at the company, sources said. According to the ABetterUbisoft worker group, junior employees will benefit from a 5-7% increase, while more experienced employees could see their wages increase by up to 20%. This would mean that a lower level developer could see a salary of $ 50,000 per year increase by $ 2,500, while a higher level developer earning $ 100,000 could see up to $ 20,000 in additional salary.
“These measures do absolutely nothing to meet the key demands of A Better Ubisoft,” the group said. Kotaku in a statement sent by email. “In addition, by heavily weighting salary increases in favor of senior executives, management is widening the gap between the highest paid and the lowest paid employees.
ABetterUbisoft sent a letter to management earlier this year demanding changes to processes for reporting malpractice and worker participation in decision-making on how the business is going in the wake of numerous reports of misconduct. sexual and toxicity in the business which began to appear in mid-2020. The group renewed its calls for “a seat at the table” last week with a petition ask fans and other developers for help.
Read more: Frustrated Ubisoft Employees Ask For Your Help So The Company Doesn’t Ignore Them
“This year the market has changed dramatically in Canada and that is why this adjustment starting at 5% and above was intended to partially address this issue, the first time we make a mid-year increase,” said one. Ubisoft spokesperson. Kotaku in an email. “There will be yet another adjustment coming in April, as usual. This is the first of a number of initiatives we are announcing to deliver a competitive employer offering, and part of our broader ongoing changes. “
The company did not say whether its studios in other countries would receive similar salary increases.
Sources tell Kotaku that Ubisoft has bled high-profile talent over the past two years. In addition to the allegations that were made in 2020, these departures are also part of a general wave of resignations throughout the global pandemic, and as competitions for talent intensify between companies like Google, Facebook, Riot Games and Tencent.
Montreal has been a particular hotbed for new opportunities in game development. A scene Ubisoft helped start thanks to generous government tax grants in the late ’90s now houses dozens of studios owned by companies like EA, Amazon, Bethesda, and Gearbox, as well as tons of new independent startups, many of which have attracted seasoned talent directly from Ubisoft. As Axios reported earlier this year, Assassin’s Creed directors Darby McDevitt, Eric Baptizat and Raphael Lacoste all left the company for other studios in just a few months.
To retain talent, some Montreal studios have shown creativity. Eidos, who recently released by marvel guardians of the galaxy, announced last month that he would be moving to a 4-day, 32-hour work week. Sources said Kotaku that Ubisoft Montreal had experienced 36-hour work weeks over the past summer and management viewed the initiative as a success, but when asked to continue or expand it said the policy was dismissed as unenforceable. They also said the company was reluctant to implement any changes that would lead to greater pay transparency, which competitor Activision Blizzard has just said. announced that he would do in response to employee requests.
“Ubisoft has always been a leader in Canada and is proud to have pioneered this industry with six studios, first in Quebec, then expanding into Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia ” , said the Ubisoft spokesperson when asked about his concerns. on wage discrimination and more flexible working hours. “These changes, including more time off, a hybrid and flexible work model, improved parental leave and the right to disconnect, strengthen our commitment to our employees and their mental and physical health. We believe that creating a culture that encourages openness, innovation and creativity starts with giving employees a more balanced approach to their personal and professional lives.