Cities: Skylines developer Paradox accused of abusing female staff and creating ‘culture of silence’

·2-min read

A leaked employee survey at Swedish developer Paradox Interactive has revealed an alleged culture of discrimination against women.

According to Swedish tech and business website Breakit (via GamesIndustry.biz), the survey was conducted by two Swedish unions – Unionen and Sveriges Ingenjörer – back in August.

There were 133 employees who took part in the survey, of which 44 per cent claim to have experienced “mistreatment”.

Female employees make up 26 per cent of respondents, and 69 per cent of them said they have experienced abusive treatment.

Paradox Interactive is best known for its strategy games such as Crusader Kings and Cities: Skylines.

The survey also alleged a “culture of silence” at the developer, with almost no employees feeling their experience had been treated appropriately.

“Offensive treatment is a systematic and far too common problem at Paradox,” it concludes.

Paradox will conduct their own survey in response to the union report, and is “now in the process of bringing in an external, neutral company to conduct a thorough review of our process and a comprehensive employee survey,” according to an internal email.

In addition, CEO Ebba Ljungerud recently resigned from the company “due to differing views on the company’s strategy going forward.”

She has been replaced by former CEO and Paradox co-founder Fredrik Wester, who claimed there was no link between her departure and the union report.

Paradox responded to PC Gamer with a statement:

“Obviously the results of this survey are deeply concerning. The management team wants to ensure this data is acted upon, but taking immediate, direct action is legally difficult thanks to the informal nature of the survey (which is not to say it’s being dismissed out-of-hand by any means).

“As stated to Breakit, we decided last week to have an independent company run an audit of our processes to report and handle cases of discrimination and harassment. We’ll also have them run a comprehensive survey to provide us with clearly defined and actionable data that we can use to make impactful change.

“At this point we’re in the process of hiring an independent and neutral firm that specializes in this process.”

Paradox is just the latest game developer accused of discriminatory behaviour, following the likes of Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and Fullbright.

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