Blizzard employees share salaries to draw attention to pay disparities

Wow Classic Aq Skeram
Wow Classic Aq Skeram (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

What you need to know

  • Blizzard Entertainment employees are reportedly sharing their salaries and raise histories through an anonymous spreadsheet.
  • The employees were looking for pay hikes following an internal study on compensation.
  • Some workers earn close to minimum wage while the CEO received $40 million in 2019.

Dozens of Blizzard Entertainment employees reportedly began sharing a spreadsheet on Friday showing their salaries and history of raises after staff expressed disappointment with the results of a compensation study the Activision Blizzard subsidiary released last month.

The study followed a 2019 survey where more than half of Blizzard employees reported they were unhappy with their pay. Bloomberg reviewed the spreadsheet and found that most employees received raises of 10% or less. One employee told Bloomberg that their pay hike amounted to just 50 cents an hour and that reductions in overtime meant they're actually making less today than they were at the company a decade ago.

Activision Blizzard spokeswoman Jessica Taylor told Bloomberg that some of Blizzard's top employees received 20% larger pay hikes in 2020 than in previous years, and that the number of people receiving promotions also increased. However, this may just have led to widening disparities between producers and engineers, who can earn more than $100,000, and employees in the customer service and testing departments who earn close to minimum wage.

The salary of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick drew particular ire from employees and pro-labor groups. Kotnick earned $40 million in 2019 and his compensation has risen along with the company's stocks as more people turned to video games to alleviate boredom during the COVID-19 pandemic. During yesterday's Q2 2020 financial report, Activision Blizzard announced that it had earned $1.93 billion, beating the anticipated revenues of $1.69 billion and setting an earnings record.

Samantha Nelson