Earlier today, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot updated his employees about a recent company-wide survey regarding the status of reforms following a summer complaints about harassment, misconduct, and other systemic issues at the global video game publisher.
He did so in a message that was shared with Kotaku not by current employees but by Ubisoft PR. In the message, Guillemot points out that 25% of anonymous respondents to the summer survey reported witnessing or experiencing misconduct first-hand. In addition, one in five respondents said they didn’t feel “fully respected or safe in the work environment.” Ubisoft says the survey was conducted by an independent research firm.
In addition, women at Ubisoftt were 30% more likely than men to experience, witness, or hear about discimination, while non-binary employees were 43% more likely. One of the goals outlined by Guillemot to deal with this includes “ensuring women comprise at least 24% of Ubisoft’s teams by 2023 (compared to 22% today). Based on the nearly 19,000 employees Guillemot mentioned being in charge of in his message, that would mean an increase of approximately 380 women. The CEO said the company is currently working on other metrics to measure progress on fostering diversity as well.
On the whole, the message didn’t go into many specifics regarding the feedback Ubisoft received from the survey nor from the listening sessions that have been happening throughout the company. “Only 66% of respondents who reported an incident felt they had received the support they needed,” Guillemot wrote. “The audit also highlights a lack of sensitivity and commitment from management on all matters of diversity, inclusion and respect. Therefore, we must better support our managers so that they are exemplary and become champions of these changes throughout the organization.” The message went on to list measures like bonuses for meeting diversity objectives and training sessions for cultural sensitivity, but nothing that would directly impact the power-imbalance between managers and those who report to them when it comes to speaking up about problematic behavior.
One interesting development the message mentions is the creation of a new “review committee” to look at Ubisoft’s content and product marketing to make sure it’s “aligned with our values of respect and fairness.” It certainly sounds like the company is creating an extra set of eyes to prevent yet another “where’s female Eivor” moment after a summer full of them. Just last month, Ubisoft released an Assassin’s Creed sizzle reel that left out all the series’ playable female characters. The month before that it released a Tom Clancy mobile game that used imagery associated with this year’s Black Lives Matter protests to depict an in-game terrorist group.
While there weren’t a lot of firm details in today’s message to employees, it did continue a now wellestablished trend of the company waiting until the end of the week to share information about problems at its workplaces. Just two weeks ago, Ubisoft announced on September 18 that 30-year veteran developer Michel Ancel would be leaving the video game industry, only for a report to come out a week later exposing the fact that Ancel is currently under investigation for his alleged toxic leadership at the studio making Beyond Good and Evil 2 something Ancel has denied. What will next Friday bring?