In a survey by two union groups, Swedish developer and publisher Paradox Interactive has been accused of widespread gender discrimination and bullying amongst its employees.
Conducted by the Swedish unions Unionen and Sveriges Ingenjörer, 44% of the 133 employees that took part said they had experienced some kind of “mistreatment” while working at the company, with the reports skewed toward its Swedish headquarters.
Additionally, this was skewed toward female employees. While 33% of the male respondents claimed they had experienced abusive treatment, that number jumped up to 69% among the female employees – women made up 26% of respondents.
Sadly, almost none of the employees felt that this misconduct had been handled in an appropriate with the report concluding that “There is a perception that perpetrators at managerial level are protected by the company.” (translated from Breakit) That’s an all-too-common conclusion from such situations that we’ve seen in other video game companies, such as Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft.
The ultimate conclusion from the union report was that “Offensive treatment is a systematic and far too common problem at Paradox.”
The timing of the report is certainly odd, having been conducted through August and presented to HR manager Marina Hedman and the then CEO Ebba Ljungerud last Wednesday. Just hours later, it was announced that Ljungerud was leaving her position as CEO, though she and returning CEO Fredrick Wester both denied any connection between the report and her departure – this was put down to “differing views on company strategy.”
While Paradox has not yet given a formal statement on the matter – Wester has thus far referred requests to HR, stating to Breakit that he’s not yet familiar with the survey – the company has said in a company-wide email that they are “now in the process of bringing in an external, neutral company to conduct a thorough review of our process and a comprehensive employee survey.” This would give a more formal grounding for action.
We hope to hear more from Paradox on the matter soon, but one potential note of encouragement for fans of the company is that they had already taken steps toward getting their employees better representation by signing a bargaining agreement with Unionen in 2020. Hopefully, in light of this survey, they can take further positive steps in the near future.