Activision Blizzard says it’s facing difficulties attracting and retaining talent
Struggles are expected to be exacerbated by recent litigation and bad press
Activision Blizzard has said it’s having problems attracting new employees and keeping hold of existing ones due to various factors.
In its annual report (via Axios), the Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush publisher cited labour shortages, growing competition for talent, and increasing attrition as factors related to its current recruitment struggles.
Activision Blizzard is also currently facing multiple regulatory investigations over its handling of alleged sexual assaults, discrimination and harassment of female employees.
And in its annual report, the company said its recruitment problems are likely to be exacerbated by ongoing litigation and bad press.
“We are experiencing increased difficulty in attracting and retaining skilled personnel,” it wrote. “For example, we observed a significantly higher turnover rate of our human resources function in 2021.
“Additionally, recent litigation involving the Company relating to workplace and employee concerns… and related media attention can be expected to have an adverse effect on our ability to attract and retain employees and has resulted in work stoppages.”
In November, a Wall Street Journal report alleged that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of multiple sexual misconduct allegations at the company.
In a statement at the time, a company spokesperson said Kotick “would not have been informed of every report of misconduct at every Activision Blizzard company, nor would he reasonably be expected to have been updated on all personnel issues”.
Kotick was also accused of mistreating several female employees, including leaving a voicemail in 2006 in which he threatened to have an assistant killed.
An Activision spokesperson said of the accusation: “Mr. Kotick quickly apologized 16 years ago for the obviously hyperbolic and inappropriate voice mail, and he deeply regrets the exaggeration and tone in his voicemail to this day.”
The Activision Blizzard board also released a statement at the time saying it remained confident in Kotick’s leadership.
Xbox owner Microsoft announced in January that it intends to acquire Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion deal – the game industry’s biggest ever by some distance.
A recent regulatory filing revealed Microsoft started acquisition talks with Activision Blizzard just days after the publication of the aforementioned Wall Street Journal report.