Activision increased representation of women and non-binary people by 2 percentage points

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KIEV, UKRAINE

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Video game publisher Activision Blizzard increased representation of women and non-binary people by 2 percentage points from November 2021 to December 2022, according to data shared with CNBC.

The company said women and non-binary employees represented 24.3% of its workforce in November 2021 but that figure has increased to 26.3% as of the end of 2022.

“We recognize we have work to do, but we’re very proud of the progress we have made over the last year,” said Alex DiLeonardo, chief talent officer, in an interview.

Executives have pledged to make women more pervasive inside the company after media reports described cases of harassment of women, prompting government investigations.

Microsoft, an Activision Blizzard competitor and partner, began talks to acquire the game publisher after the reports pushed down the game publisher’s stock price. Microsoft is working to resolve regulatory concerns about the deal, and in January executives said they still expect to close the $69 billion acquisition by the end of June.

Of Activision Blizzard’s full-time employees at the end of December, 25% were women and 1% identified as non-binary, in line with 26% for both groups at the end of November, according to data the company published in a blog post.

It also gave a new statistic — under 1% identified as “something else.” In 2021 the company set a goal to reach 35% for full-time non-binary and women workers by 2025. The company said 29% of its 2022 hires were women, down from 30% in the year that ended on Feb. 28, 2022. Of the 2022 hires, 2% were non-binary.

“I couldn’t be more passionate and committed to being the most performance-focused, welcoming, and inclusive company in entertainment,” Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, told analysts on a 2021 conference call, which followed an agreement with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission to strengthen policies to reduce harassment and discrimination.

Activision Blizzard started using startup Textio’s software to help make job descriptions more inclusive and gender-neutral, revising over 5,500 listings in 2022 with the tool, Kristen Hines, whom Activision Blizzard appointed as its first chief diversity equity and inclusion officer last year, wrote in the blog post.

“We’ll continue to measure the impact of these changes, as we’re confident this work will contribute to our goal of becoming the most welcoming and inclusive company in the industry,” Hines wrote. “We also believe this will help us meet the commitment we made in 2021 to increase the percentage of women and non-binary employees by 50% over five years.”

Microsoft has been trying to boost the presence of women for years and has made progress in technical and leadership roles. Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft’s gaming division, said at a Wall Street Journal event in October that “we have to make sure teams feel safe, feel included, feel heard, where they can do their best work.” In November Microsoft committed to updating its policies on sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

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Correction: The headline and story have been updated to correctly reflect the latest Activision data available on the representation of women and non-binary people.

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