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Blizzard employees reveal salaries to highlight wage disparity

Blizzard Entertainment staff shared a spreadsheet among themselves at the end of July where employees could add their salary and information regarding their bonuses, according to Bloomberg. This was done in an attempt to illustrate the wage disparities at the company.

This comes after an internal survey was performed at the company last year that highlighted more than half of its employees were unhappy with their compensation. Management promised to perform an additional survey that would address the staff’s displeasure, but when the results of that study were implemented last month, there was outrage in the company’s Slack, so much so that an anonymous employee started a spreadsheet to gain transparency on the company’s attempt to fix the pay issues.

Many employees received raises below 10% of their annual salary, much lower than expected from the staff after the promises of the company’s survey. Bloomberg received internal correspondence from employees that denoted they were struggling to make ends meet. One employee noted their raise was a mere 50 cents an hour, and because they weren’t working as much overtime, they were actually making less than they did almost a decade ago.

Some workers in higher positions have salaries in the six-figure range and were given bonuses over 20%. Still, employees in roles such as quality assurance testing and customer-service make minimum wage or close to it. The average monthly cost to rent property in Irvine, California, where the company’s headquarters is located, is nearly $2,500.

Meanwhile, the company’s year-over-year revenue has grown, and its CEO Bobby Kotick enjoyed compensation in the $40 million range, while its new chief financial officer was awarded $15 million through stocks and a sign-on bonus.

One of the major issues stems from Blizzard’s parent company Activision forcing it to cut costs, which resulted in hundreds of lost jobs in 2019. The remaining staff were forced to pick up the workload of laid-off employees, but that did not come with wage increases. In Activision’s earnings call on Tuesday, it was revealed revenue was up nearly 40% from last year.

Some staff that haven’t left have taken drastic cost-cutting measures, including not eating lunch, over-caffeinating to suppress their appetite, and even giving up plans to have children.

A spotlight has been put on the gaming industry in 2020 as Blizzard is one of several companies going through scandals regarding the treatment of employees.

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