The salary range is much wider and significantly lower than other studios.
Earlier this week, several video game companies including EA, Riot Games, and Activision Blizzard began posting salary ranges in job ads under a new law introduced earlier this year. The law was intended to increase transparency in the job market and allow people to see what salaries certain roles typically bring in.
Probably to avoid publishing specific information, many companies have published huge salary ranges for specific roles, making it difficult for potential applicants to estimate how much money they should be making from the position they are applying for. It’s a common tactic in most fields, as hiding salaries for specific jobs gives companies more power in wage negotiations. If someone doesn’t know how much a job typically makes, they’re less likely to negotiate higher wages.
Unfortunately for Blizzard, that tactic didn’t stop us from finding out that the company appears to be paying QA testers significantly less than other studios. As discovered by ShackNews, job listings from Bungie, Riot Games, and Blizzard have revealed the latter posting much broader and lower salary ranges for similar roles.
Riot Games is currently hiring a QA Engineer with a salary range of $98,009-$132,700, while Bungie is hiring a Destiny Test Lead with a salary range of $86,000-$108,000. However, Activision Blizzard is currently looking for a Diablo 4 Test Lead offering a salary range of $49,600 to $91,760. This might be a broader spectrum, but the low end is significantly lower than Riot and Bungie, which is odd in the latter case as they are extremely similar roles with similar skill levels required.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Blizzard underpays its employees — it’s more than likely paying what it believes to be the industry standard. It’s also worth noting that Riot Games in particular is known for being fairly generous with payment, most likely in an attempt to attract talented developers from more reputable studios. However, it clearly shows that Blizzard pays its QA staff less than other companies, significantly less when it leans toward the lower end of the ranges it advertises.
It seems like that could be the case as well, as Activision Blizzard as a company has seen several groups of QA testers unionize, including Raven Software, Blizzard Albany, and a third group currently trying to unionize , the Proletariat Workers Alliance. The developer has also had a history of treating QA staff pretty badly, particularly those who unionize.
For example, Activision Blizzard was held accountable in early 2022 for failing to include Raven Software’s QA contractors in a round of pay raises due to their strike efforts at the time. Activision Blizzard claimed it wanted to issue raises but couldn’t because of strikes, but the Communications Workers of America (CWA) claimed the reasoning was a “dishonest announcement.”
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