More than two thirds of women employed by Swedish game developer and publisher Paradox Interactive have reportedly said they faced gender discrimination or other mistreatment at the company, according to a new survey conducted by two labour groups in Sweden in August. The report says 44% of survey respondents complained of “mistreatment” in the workplace, and concludes that Paradox has fostered a “culture of silence” where perpetrators of abuse are protected from any serious consequences for their behaviour.
Swedish language publication Breakit, which obtained the leaked survey, reports that women make up about 26% of Paradox’s workforce, but that 69% of women who responded to the survey said they had experienced abusive treatment on the job. For men, that figure was 33%.
Breakit reports that the survey was presented to Paradox leadership August 30, with news going out to employees on September 1 – hours before the announcement that Paradox CEO Ebba Ljungerud had elected to step down from her position. However, Breakit says Ljungerud herself, incoming interim CEO Fredrik Wester, and Paradox’s communications department have all denied any connection between Ljungerud’s departure and the results of the survey.
The union groups that conducted the initial survey, Unionen and SverigesIngenjör, have called for swift action from Paradox’s leadership, and Paradox says it is bringing in an external company to conduct a “thorough review of our processes and a comprehensive employee survey.”
“Obviously, the results of this survey are deeply concerning,” Paradox tells us. “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).”
Paradox says it’s currently in the process of hiring the neutral third-party firm to run an audit on company processes and conduct another “comprehensive” survey, in order to generate “clearly defined and actionable data that we can use to make impactful change.”