Activision acknowledges attrition, challenges in hiring

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Image credit: Activision)

What you need to know

  • Activision Blizzard noted in a recent annual report that the company is having problems retaining full-time employees.
  • Activision Blizzard additionally failed to hire a third woman for the board of directors, in compliance with a 2019 California law.
  • Activision Blizzard claims that the hiring was complicated due to the company being in talks to be acquired by Microsoft.

Activision is acknowledging issues with hiring personnel due to the events of the last several months, which have included walk-outs, strikes and employees voicing displeasure at how the company is addressing allegations of harassment and abuse.

As explained in the company's recent annual filing (and first noticed by Axios), Activision Blizzard is openly facing some issues with attrition across its various teams, particularly in human resources.

"We have observed labor shortages, increasing competition for talent, and increasing attrition," the filing notes. The company reported having 9,800 full-time exployees in 2021, up from 9,500 in 2020. "We are experiencing increased difficulty in attracting and retaining skilled personnel. For example, we observed a significantly higher turnover rate of our human resources function in 2021."

The filing goes on to explain that some of these hiring problems are attributed to "recent litigation" and "related media attention," making it harder to retain full-time exployees. Since July 2021, Activision Blizzard has faced a lawsuit, alleging the company allowed sexist workplace behavior, harassment and abuse to go unpunished.

Additionally, Activision Blizzard failed to hire a third woman for the board of directors by December 2021, a move that was required under California law, which went into effect in January 2019. Activision states that it began the process of looking for another woman to join the board in 2021 but that "...since the Company's current directors would cease to continue to serve on our Board of Directors upon consummation of our proposed transaction with Microsoft, we were unable to conclude the process in 2021."

Activision Blizzard is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, in a deal worth almost $69 billion. Talks for Microsoft to acquire the company reportedly began in November 2021, with a deal being announced in January 2022. The transaction is slated to be complete by June 2023, at which point Activision Blizzard will join Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks as Xbox first-party publishers.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.