Obviously, women are much more affected
Swedish media Breakit reports (via Games Industry) that a joint investigation by two unions reveals that nearly half of Paradox Interactive employees would have been victims of “ill-treatment”. It would be question hazing, but above all sexism who would touch the whole company.
On the 400 employees the publisher (which also has its own development teams), 133 people were asked about their working environment. Thereby, 44% claim to have already suffered moral damage, which includes 30% of men, but above all 69% of women questioned, the latter representing 26% of the sample.
This is a story that is repeated a lot in the industry, as the survey reveals a certain “culture of silence” within Paradox, reporting that complaints from most victims with management would not have never been accompanied effectively. “Cases of mistreatment are a systematic and all too common problem at Paradox”, conclude the two Swedish unions, The Union and Engineers of Sweden.
The report would have been submitted to the executive of the company Monday August 30, before being disseminated among employees 2 days later. The next day, the resignation of CEO Ebba Ljungerud was made public, due to “divergent views on the company’s strategy for the future”. Indeed, the new (and former) CEO of Paradox, Fredrik Wester, says it is of a coincidence, since the departure of Ljungerud would have no connection with reading the survey.
In response, Paradox did like most of the companies recently pinned for mistreatment of its employees and cases of moral or sexual harassment: a counter-investigation, as reported by Eurogamer.
- We are aware of an investigation carried out within the company on this subject, and results which are obviously not satisfactory. The management team wants to ensure that this data is factored in, but taking immediate and direct action is legally difficult due to the informal nature of the investigation (and the sharing of results that occurs just before undergoing the test. change of CEO, which was quite busy for us). We are currently working to reconcile the informal investigation with our own internal research, and look forward to taking action.
- Paradox is currently in the process of bringing in an external, neutral company to perform a thorough audit of our processes and a full employee survey. This will help us move forward in all of the areas that we have worked to improve over the past few years – harassment and abuse will be top among these, but we will also be looking at topics such as impartial hiring and compensation, outreach continues to prejudice, inclusion, and more.
Even if the company has a nice image of a box that mainly develops and publishes strategic niche games like Stellaris, Imperator: Rome or cardboard Crusader Kings III, this is not the first time that Paradox Interactive is singled out for problems working environment, as Rock Paper Shotgun already pointed out last year, almost to the day.
In October 2019, Paradox Interactive received very poor ratings on Glassdoor, a corporate review site for employees. As usual, the quality control department (QA) would have suffered a lot of damage, starting with un flagrant lack of consideration of employees and remuneration flush with the daisies.
This highlighting of the situation arose when Paradox closed very brutally the whole department in spring 2019, overnight without warning the main stakeholders (or the developers who were counting on them). Apart from offer “even worse” positions according to the statements, Paradox would not have sought to protect effectively its former employees.
Despite hostile positions vis-à-vis the unions and certain efforts to do without them, Paradox management will finally sign a collective agreement with The Union and Engineers of Sweden at the beginning of June 2020, these same two unions which today announced that the has not really improved since.