Do salaries in Russian game development increase against the background of inflation?

Almost a quarter of gaming companies with offices/ employees in Russia conducted indexing, or made additional payments to their employees due to rising inflation.

The editorial board came to such conclusions having talked with more than two dozen gaming companies that have representative offices in Russia.

The situation with inflation in Russia

In mid-March, the Bank of Russia, citing financial analysts, said that inflation in Russia by the end of 2022 could reach 20%. There is an opinion that this is an optimistic scenario. For example, economist Natalia Zubarevich in one of her reports shared an estimate of 30%.

At the same time, the cost of a number of products in Russia has already risen significantly. According to Rosstat, prices increased by an average of 7.6% in March. However, the increase in the cost of individual product items turned out to be much more significant (up to 40%).

Against the background of such changes, we talked to a number of gaming companies with offices in Russia. Our task was to find out what, due to the high level of inflation, they are going to do or, perhaps, have already done.

During the week — the survey was conducted in the format of personal correspondence with representatives of companies (top managers or press services) — contacted 31 companies. 21 of them were ready to share information. Most of them were exclusively on an anonymous basis.

Research results

The surveyed companies can be divided into relatively equal four groups, according to the indexing approach. Let’s focus on each of the groups in detail.

1. To date, the salary has been recalculated at a favorable rate (19%)

We are talking about companies that a) converted ruble wages into currency at the exchange rate before February 24 and b) started paying in rubles, based on salaries in the currency at that time.

Most of the companies in this group have pegged wages to the dollar. Although some noted that they recalculate the salary, starting from the euro exchange rate.

2. Conducted a full indexation/started making any payments (23.5%)

There is no general scenario for companies to work with indexing, having decided to help employees. Each of the studios approached the decision individually.

One of the companies stated that it had managed to index twice since the beginning of the year: “The planned increase was at the beginning of the year. And a 20% increase since March to support employees. Then we will look at the situation.”

In another, we were informed that by now “everyone’s salary has been indexed by 30-40%, depending on the region.”

The third speaker noted that as a temporary measure, a system of salary compensation with monthly bonuses was introduced. So far, it is designed for 3 months. Next, the company will act on the situation.

Representatives of another gaming company responded in a similar way: “while we consider indexing, we pay the exchange rate difference to all employees with bonuses.”

Another company told us that they are still thinking about the program itself, but in early March they paid the second salary to employees, and in early April they plan to pay a 30% bonus to those who receive a salary in rubles. The company’s management is inclined to then link the indexation to the real price increase.

3. The decision on indexing has been made, but no indexing has been carried out so far (19%)

Some of the surveyed companies noted that they plan to carry out indexing and they already have either an idea of the percentage or the timing of its implementation.

The majority of respondents in this group noted that indexing is going to be carried out this spring. The percentage of indexing is around 10-15%.

4. Thinking (38.5%)

The largest group of respondents. Basically, these are the companies that are waiting for the stabilization of currency fluctuations. Most of them note that the indexation will be carried out, but not at the moment, or only “ready to consider” this issue after the clarification of the economic situation.

Pavel Prokonich, CEO of HeroCraft, one of the few speakers who agreed to publicly voice the company’s position, noted in an interview with us that from April 1 there were plans to index by 10-30%. However, at the moment the situation has changed.

This decision was made at the rate of 105 rubles per dollar. At the moment, we will either revise the size of indexing, or completely abandon this idea. We will keep an eye on the exchange rate,” Prokonich said.

Dmitry Bobrov, CEO of ZiMAD, became another speaker who openly shared his vision. It follows from his words that the company is unlikely to carry out a general indexation for Russian branches.

For each region, we individually review the salaries of our employees, bringing them in line with market levels, the current grade of each employee, taking into account, among other things, the inflation of national currencies. The issue of salary revision is raised individually for each employee at least 1 time a year,” Bobrov said.

Out of worth attention

During the conversations, it also became clear that at least two companies were forced to make cuts due to the prevailing conditions.

However, other respondents, when we raised this issue, said either that they had not had any cuts, or that they were continuing to recruit employees in a regular mode.

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