Keywords Studios
3.0 out of 5 stars.
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Keywords Studios Pay & benefits reviews

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Fun place to work at with great company culture

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It was one of the coolest place I got to work with. Some up and down but nothing out of the ordinary. It is the most inclusive place that I have worked at. Salary could be higher but I think its a good transitional job or a summer job.

Pros

Greatest company culture and fun job 80% of time

Cons

Being on call it can take months to be assigned to a new project
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Overall not too bad but no room to grow / salary

Fun people and lots of different games to work on, can ask to move projects which is nice. The salary is quite low and there isn't much room to move up.

Pros

Cool people

Cons

Pay
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Official response from Keywords Studios

19 March 2021
Thank you so much for your feedback! It’s great to hear that you are enjoying your role as a game tester and the atmosphere at Keywords. Regarding our growth opportunities, we are proud of our Level Up system which guarantees that employees receive wage increases over time. You can achieve up to three raises in a year! Last year alone, we had 484 Level Up promotions and 124 promotions to higher roles in Montreal (Test Leads, Project Managers, Managers…).Thanks again for your comments, we are here to help provide the best experience we can!

Nice Co-Workers, horrid management

Pay is low, and they do not care about you. Promise the world, deliver nothing. Often let go with no projects. Play favorites and do not repect those who work hard.

Pros

Free Soda

Cons

Everything else
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Official response from Keywords Studios

25 October 2020
Hello, and thank you for sharing your feedback.It is true, as you mention, that there are short term projects on which to work. There are now, more than ever, an increasing amount of projects in which staff are offered permanent contracts, with access to benefits packages. The Level Up system is in place offering merit-based promotions, and revised annually based on employee feedback. Even in a mostly remote working climate, trainings and new job opportunities are regularly being shared with staff. We are glad that you enjoyed the perks, such as free snacks and drinks, and hope you enjoyed the time with your former coworkers.

Good job for a highschool student

You get what you pay for. This is a low level job that would be amazing for a high school student. There are a LOT of smelly people here, literally. People show up in clothes they haven't washed in days reeking of B.O

Pros

Pretty relaxed workplace

Cons

Too relaxed, low pay, managers look and act like something you would find in fast food
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Official response from Keywords Studios

27 July 2020
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your time at Keywords.Even though starting positions can be on call, more and more employees are on permanent and fixed term contracts. As for career advancement, we are proud to promote from within with our Level Up program, which gives employees the chance to grow professionally and achieve up to three raises in a year and more opportunities for promotions!Thank you again, we wish you the very best!

wage is way too low for the responsibility they give

they keep saying us we should never talk about the things we see in the office otherwise we might get sued by the customers and the keywords, imagine getting sued for thousands of dollars for minimum wage.Also they are hiring on-call employees and expecting people to be available 40 hours a week for minimum wage. they really need to hire permanent employees instead with better pay. work environment wasn't that bad but employees are gossiping a lot. worst part is if they are talking about behind an employee's back and they act normal when that person is around. professionalism is kind of low in the company.

Pros

free fruits

Cons

unstable shifts
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Official response from Keywords Studios

27 July 2020
Hello! Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback.We are sorry to hear you experienced issues with some colleagues. We strive to have a safe and comfortable work environment, and we urge employees to report any issue with our HR department. Keywords employees receive more than minimum wage, even positions that require no previous industry experience. Salary increases quickly through our Level Up program, all Level 3 employees move to permanent positions and there is also training in place to encourage and help earn promotions to higher responsibility and higher paid positions.Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. We take all feedback to heart and as a learning experience for us all. We wish you the best!

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Très mal payé et heures supplémentaires obligatoires!!

Payé au salaire minimum pour un travail a temps plein et heures supplémentaires (fin de semaines ou soirs) obligatoires sinon une note au dossier est ajoutée.
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Amazing workplace to start working in the industry, not to stay

KWS is an amazing workplace to start working in the industry, amazing with capital "A", but after more than 3 years, the lack of insurance and stability, make first party QA much more attractive to the experienced tester.

Pros

Can be really relaxed often, schedule flexibility possible, anyone can enter

Cons

No benefits, no insurance, even most experienced testers gain close to minimum wage
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Official response from Keywords Studios

3 March 2020
Hello, and thank you for your review. We are glad to hear you found Keywords to be A-mazing!While most positions are on-call at the beginning, about half of the workforce at Keywords Studios Montreal are on permanent contract, and approximately 75% are on long term projects. Scheduling is done according to each employee’s provided availability. Staff members can provide any availability they choose, offering reduced availability can result in reduced hours.Keywords is especially proud to promote from within; all Level 3 employees moved to permanent positions in the past year. The ratio of permanent staff continues to increase, as it has over the past decade. Once they become permanent employees, testers are given three options of benefits plans at different price points, and may choose the one that suits them best. Multiple benefit plans were considered, and the program was revamped according to employee feedback.In addition to these benefits, we are proud to offer employee perks including a discounted mobile phone provider, bike share program, gym discount, coffee, refillable OPUS station at the office, happy hour parties, summer and winter parties, event ticket and game giveaways throughout the year, and free fruit every day.Thanks again for your feedback. We think the Keywords staff is pretty A-mazing too.

The more you care, the sadder it gets

- Salary is low, and planning appears to give less hours if you get a salary upgrade. - It is impossible to know if you'll get work before the very day before and your schedule may be switched between day and evening on a weekly basis, leaving any possibility of adapting your sleep out the window. It is possible, and even likely, to end not be receiving any work for days. - Training, while paid, ended up useless as the first project I've been assigned to required completely different methodologies. As an employee, you get shifted around projects often on a day to day basis, requiring you to constantly adapt to different requirements right after training. - The best, and only good part of the job, is the other employees, it is very easy to get friends with everybody since everyone clearly have a passion for games. Even if you'll often end up never seeing them again as they put you on another project...
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Official response from Keywords Studios

24 February 2020
Hello, and thank you for your review.We are glad to hear that you are enjoying the friendships you’ve made at Keywords. While staff are scheduled according to project needs, and not who their friends are, Keywords Montreal organizes events throughout the year to give everyone the opportunity to socialize outside of work; summer and winter parties, Halloween and St Patrick Happy Hour events, tournaments, as well as the private Star Wars screenings and Esports Central event late last year.The Level Up program has been implemented to offer built-in growth and salary increase opportunities for Keywords Montreal team members. In terms of scheduling, both permanent and fixed term contracts (often 6 months) are based on clients’ needs, as well as the quality, availability and desire of Testers.Sorry to hear that you did not find Training to be helpful on your first project. You may be pleased to learn that Just last week, we were able to grow the FQA Training program from 3 to 4 days! Training will now cover more ground, and help new Testers be better prepared for a variety of project need.We hope this helps address some of your concerns. If there is anything else you would like to discuss, we encourage you to share with your leadership or the relevant department.

Some very nice and friendly people but not a good job, that's for sure.

It would be nice place with better salary and management. At this point I wouldn't recommend. It is a waste of time. LQA department is slightly better.
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Official response from Keywords Studios

10 February 2020
We appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts and would like to invite you to meet with your local HR team about concerns you have. We truly care about our employees' experiences and hope you will take time to share your thoughts in more detail, in person.

good coworkers

Amazing coworkers from different countries, low salary, joyful and fun environment. The workload was not really stressful. I generally enjoyed working there.
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Official response from Keywords Studios

13 January 2020
We appreciate your feedback and your time spent at Keywords. Thank you!

A Sweatshop disguised as a Progressive Tech company

Keywords Studios' goal is to acquire multiple service lines around the world, strip them from all benefits and essentially turn themselves into THE premiere Sweatshop of the video games industry. I have worked in multiple departments within the company (FQA, Console Certification and Virtual Reality).I was mainly a Certification Tester throughout my employment, and I cannot stress how anti-worker the company is. If you're familiar with Rockstar/Riot/Activision/etc in the news, expect the same expendable/harassing treatment from management throughout your employment. Certification Testers are paid the ABSOLUTE minimum and not compensated extra for their extensive commitment to their department. As individuals who are verifying titles for end-user release for Microsoft/Nintendo/Sony/VR, we were constantly spoken down to and threatened for talking about workplace conditions. Speaking of conditions, the Virtual Reality department is the biggest offender in my opinion. I am not sure if they have improved the lab, but when I was working there, we were squeezed closely together using VR headsets and constantly hitting each other with no solution in sight. Furthermore, the lab is literally unfurnished with concrete flooring, just desks and PCs with carpet only situated for management. I am pretty sure the CNESST would have a field day with the room. Do what I did, get your experience and find a company that would actually appreciate you.
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Official response from Keywords Studios

11 October 2019
Hello and thank you for taking the time to provide your review.We are very sorry to hear that you felt expendable and talked down to in your time with us. We value our employees and encourage them to raise any issues so that they may dealt with accordingly. Our business is built around our teams. Wiithout our teams there is no business to offer. We are proud to hear when our staff goes to work for clients and partners, even to the competition, should the right opportunity arise. This proves that our staff is progressing, regardless if their career growth occurs within Keywords or externally. Though our goal would be to find opportunities internally, we are proud to say that within the past year we had an organic growth of 50%, which included many opportunities for our existing staff.We are happy to hear that you have seen improvements and we are committed to continue them, especially in regard to staff retention which is the core of our business. We wish you well with your next endeavors.

Not a good 3 years

I started as a tester and moved up to the Planning Department. As a tester you're treated as entirely disposable and getting regular shifts is more about pure luck than skill, and getting in with the right people. As a Planning Specialist, I was horrendously overworked, and voiced this many times to completely uncaring higher ups, but despite burning out repeatedly and having a series of mental breakdowns, it took nearly a full 2 years for anything to change.

Pros

Benefits, insurance, wonderful team

Cons

Pay, favoritism among leads, lack of respect, lack of concern regarding mental health
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Official response from Keywords Studios

17 October 2019
Thank you for your feedback, we are very sorry to hear you had a difficult experience. Your review will be shared with our HR Team and taken to heart as we strive to make Keywords the best it can be. We do wish you the very best in your next endeavor.

Hope you don't have to work here

NOT RECOMMEND The management is bad with no possibility of promotion Efficiency of communication is rather low They would fire people all of a sudden No job security and no promised benefits Hope no followers would come to work here You will be regretful like me
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Unreasonable company

Even though it says on the contract that they will let you know 1 week in advance if they're terminating you, they won't. No warnings no nothing. Was absent for a couple days because I was sick and just got fired from HR with no warning. Reached out to provide doctor's notes as well as even told them to call the doctor to prove I was going in and out of his clinic hence could not come to work. HR said decision was final and irrevocable. Will not even try to listen to you. I can handle the undetermined hours of work, having to wait until dinnertime to know I'll be working the next day as well as the minimum salary but seriously? No respect for the employees. Probably has no regard for their employees because they have so many of them to the point people who worked there longer has problem securing hours. They're still hiring though which fascinates me. The "benefits" are not that great too, offering bixi and stm discounts when you can get them from their respective websites, Telus employee discount which only works on certain plans, no healthcare insurance unless you want to talk to a social worker about how hard your life is then you'll have that benefit.

Pros

Free fruits maximum of 2 per day lmao, playing games

Cons

Undetermined hours, can't make plans because they'll only let you know you'll be working the next day at 5 to 7 pm, goodluck reaching out to the management
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Hopefully you don’t have to work here.

Not a good place to work. Inconsistent hours, no guarantee of work. Minimum wage.. the other reviews have covered it. I did however appreciate the fruit provided (really, it makes a difference saving 30 cents a day when you are being paid so poorly)
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This is not a real job!

There's a lot I could say about this job but let's keep it brief. Its a contract job which they try to sell you as a positive. "You get to be flexible with your hours and choose when you work!" Except that this isn't true at all. It's just an attempt to sell precarity as some sort of positive, and you don't really get any rights as a worker. Here's what you should know: -you have no permanent hours. I went several weeks at a time without shifts and worked other jobs to make up for it. -you're on call every day that you've put as available and they only let you know at 6pm the night before if you're working or not. -they pay minimum wage so if you lose a few shifts and have no backup income source you're pretty stuck, -there's basically zero room to move up and even the highest paid position you can reach after several years doesn't pay a living wage. They gave a bunch of people a 25 cent raise the week before the minimum wage was increased so even if you work hard its not like it makes a difference. I will say that they at least pay for the training which I appreciated. I've been told by other employees that HR essentially sides with corporate at all times and will drop you at the sign of any contention. This is probably why they have a strict "no politics" rule during work and break time. Again they try to sell all of this as fun and competitive (look we have a video game area where you can wait for 3 hours and see if you have a shift or not today!) Avoid this job if you can and don't get caught sitting 2 weeks behind on your bills wondering if you're going to - 

Pros

work itself can be fun depending on the project

Cons

bad wage, no confirmed scheduling, no career advancement, toxic management
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Im happy here

Keywords Studios is an overall good place to work. However, a lot of people end up leaving due to the salary, which is alot lower than the competition. You also never hear positive feedback from your managers, or direct supervisors, so you just have to know you did a good job that day if you don't receive any negative feedback, I guess. The work environment is fun and you get to meet people from all over the world and the projects are fun as well, but honestly, they should pay their long term employees alot more than they currently are. After 6 months, I got a 25 cent raise per hour. It's a joke.

Pros

Fun environment, get to meet people from all over, job security

Cons

Low salary, feel like a number instead of a human, no positive feedback
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If you have any self-respect, work somewhere else

Working Customer Service at Keywords Studios is essentially slave labour. The pay is low, and would be lower if they could get away with it and the work is grueling and repetitive and soul-crushing. Of my many jobs worked, I have never seen more inept management. Training is just an info dump, most of which becomes obsolete a week into the job and guidance is not offered to employees. Contract workers are fired in large groups in order to not be kept long enough to be eligible for benefits. But hey, if you like working for poorly trained managers and alongside essentially the dredges of society (because they hire literally anyone. They need gristle for the mill) and ocasionally get some free rotten fruit, be my guest.

Pros

None

Cons

Long hours, every action constantly tracked, slave company culture
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Keywords keeps hiring but offers little to no hours to current employees.

this is a minimum wage, on-call job. You may get lucky and get out on a project right away and have job security for at least a few months, or you could be stuck with replacements shifts (going in waiting 3 hours and if you don’t get picked for any projects you go home), or no shifts at all. The shorty part is that the company keeps hiring all these new testers yet they don’t have enough hours for the testers they already have. The structure of the company needs a complete overhaul. The work, however is super fun and most other testers are very friendly. There’s is possibility of moving up and getting « guaranteed hours » contract, but most people have to work there for a while before it happens. The vision of the company is great, though poorly executed.

Pros

Fun work, friendly staff

Cons

Minimum wage, no guaranteed hours
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Friendly and professional place to work

Working as a part of the HR department and the atmosphere is great. The company is clearly trying to give testers and other employees job security and good benefits.

Pros

Free fruit, great work-life balance

Cons

On-call contracts for testers
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Summary

This job is VERY VERY boring, You don't learn much if anything. Management is alright and could be better. Salary is horrible and there are zero benefits which is probably the main reason why everyone quits.
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Overall rating

3.0

Based on 153 reviews
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Ratings by category

3.2Work/Life Balance
2.4Salary/Benefits
2.6Job security/advancement
2.7Management
3.2Culture

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