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#Game industry

Salary Transparency in Gamedev: A Look at Studios’ Experiences

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Salary transparency in gamedev refers to the practice of game studios being open about how much they pay their employees or how salaries are determined. This global shift toward openness is often driven by legal changes aimed at addressing wage inequalities, including the gender pay gap. It ensures that all employees have a clear understanding of compensation frameworks, promoting an environment of fairness and compliance with equity standards. For a more detailed insight of where we are from the legal perspective, we invite you to review the Pay Transparency Directive overview we prepared for all companies and employees working in the European Union.

And for those who missed Ljubica Garic’s compelling speech at the recent Digital Dragons event, here’s a focused look at the benefits and the outcomes gathered by studios that pioneer in the area of salary transparency in gamedev.

What are the key benefits of salary transparency in gamedev?

Salary transparency is becoming increasingly recognized as a strategic advantage in the games industry, offering a range of benefits to both employers and employees. Here’s an overview of four key areas where game studios have reported significant benefits from implementing salary transparency:

1. Attracting Talent:

Studios that have adopted transparent salary policies find it easier to attract high-quality candidates. This practice eliminates uncertainties around compensation and sets clear expectations from the outset.

2. Increased Applications and Diversity:

Transparent salary structures may significantly increase the volume and diversity of job applicants.

3. Enhancing Equity:

Transparency aids in creating a more equitable workplace by reducing gender and racial pay disparities. It provides a clear framework that discourages biases, ensuring fair compensation.

4. Employee Retention and Morale:

Openness about compensation tends to improve employee satisfaction and retention rates.

Detailed Insights into the Benefits of Salary Transparency in Gamedev:

1. Attracting Talent

Case 1: InnoGames

At InnoGames, the impact of introducing salary transparency was immediate and significant. Before this policy, a data analyst role could take up to 15 months to fill. After implementing salary transparency, this position was filled within just two months, with all 19 vacancies also being filled during the same period. Candidates responded positively, appreciating the studio’s commitment to fair pay, which was not influenced by gender or negotiation skills. The transparency changed hiring conversations, fostering openness and building trust between the company and potential employees.

2. Increased Applications and Diversity

Case 2: Ubisoft

Ubisoft introduced transparent salary bands for specific roles in 2021, leading to a significant rise in job applications, particularly from diverse candidates, with a notable 25% increase in female applicants.

Case 3: Riot Games

Similarly, Riot Games introduced public salary ranges for U.S. roles in early 2023, which significantly enhanced their recruitment process. The result was a 35% increase in qualified applicants and allowed roles to be filled 20% faster compared to previous years, illustrating the profound effect that clear and open salary information can have on attracting top talent in the games industry.

3. Enhancing Equity

Case 4: InnoGames

InnoGames conducts annual salary reviews using external market data to ensure compensation remains competitive, leading to adjustments of up to 37% in traditionally lower-paid roles such as Game Designers, Artists, Community Managers, and QA Engineers.

Case 5: Paradox Interactive

Paradox Interactive rolled out transparent pay structures across the company in 2020, and by 2022, they reported a 15% reduction in the gender pay gap and a 20% reduction in the racial pay gap.

Case 6: Riot Games

Riot Games also saw significant improvements, with a decrease in the gender pay gap from 10% to 3% and the racial pay gap from 8% to 2% after introducing transparent pay structures.

4. Employee Retention and Morale

Case 7: Paradox Interactive

Paradox Interactive noticed a 12% reduction in turnover rates in the first year after implementing transparency measures.

Case 8: Riot Games

Riot Games adjusted salaries for over 200 employees and introduced semi-annual pay reviews to continually monitor and address wage disparities, significantly enhancing employee morale and retention.

Salary Transparency in Gamedev: What’s Next?

This article highlights the significant benefits of adopting salary transparency in games, backed by data and examples from leading game studios. Our next article will tackle common concerns and misconceptions about salary transparency. We will also provide solutions and insights to help more companies take this transformative step. In the meantime, we invite you to dig deeper into salaries in gamedev by reviewing our Gamedev Salary Pulse report and Pay Transparency Directive handout. Stay tuned for more as we continue to discuss how salary transparency is shaping the future of game development.