Diversity at Slack

An update, May 2019

Hands with different skin tones lined in a row

Our vision at Slack is a world in which organizational agility is easy to achieve, regardless of an organization’s size. In other words, Slack is a tool built for everyone—and that inclusivity should be reflected in the people who imagine and build the product itself. Since the company’s beginnings five years ago, we’ve prioritized diversity, engagement and belonging in our hiring, practices and workplace culture. It’s core to our values and our mission to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive.

Our approach

As we did in 2018, we are again publicly releasing our Employment Information Report, or EEO1. Based on feedback from our employees, however, we are also including additional information in our own report to better reflect how our employees have chosen to self-identify. Where we have expanded our definitions, we provide clear details of those changes—and their impact on the results—in the reporting below.

Where we stand today¹

Overall, our diversity metrics have remained consistent, even as our headcount has grown from 716 employees as of January 31, 2017, to 1,502 employees as of January 31, 2019.  We’ve made incremental gains in the representation of women and underrepresented minorities (URMs) and will continue to invest in these areas—especially in women in leadership roles and URM managers, two areas in which we saw slight declines.

In collecting and reporting our diversity data², we’ve made the following changes from our 2018 report to more fully represent our community:

  • Transgender individuals are people whose gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth. We have enabled employees to identify whether they are transgender or gender-nonconforming. Transgender and gender-nonconforming employees account for 0.7% of individuals at Slack.³ In our data on gender at Slack, transgender women are included in our reporting on women, and account for 0.2% of women at Slack.
  • Middle Eastern employees are now included in our reporting on URMs⁴, accounting for 0.9% of our workforce and that portion of the increase in total URMs at Slack. Previously, in aligning our race and ethnicity categories with those of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Middle Eastern data was not reported, but we are now including those numbers.
  • While we previously had a single Asian category to align with the EEOC, we have now broken this out into East Asian, South Asian and Southeast Asian categories to give employees more options in self-identifying and to more accurately reflect our population.

Globally, women constitute 45.8% of our workforce, up from 44.7% (+1.1 pts.) from our last report in April 2018.

  • 34.6% of people in technical roles are women, up from 34.3% (+0.3 pts.) last year.
  • 50.2% of our managers (employees with direct reports) are women, up from 48.0% (+2.2 pts.) last year.
  • 29.6% of our leadership (director level and above) are women, down from 30.6% (-1.0 pt.) last year.

In the U.S., 14.0% of our workforce is composed of people from one or more underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, up from 12.6% (+1.4 pts.) last year.

  • 14.2% of our U.S. technical organization is composed of people from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, up from 12.8% (+1.4 pts.) last year.
  • 13.0% of our U.S. managers are from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, down from 14.0% (-1.0 pt.) last year.
  • 8.8% of our U.S. leadership team are from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, up from 6.0% (+2.8 pts.) last year.

In the U.S., we also look at LGBTQ, disability and veteran status among employees.⁵

  • 7.8% of our U.S. workforce identify as LGBTQ, down from 8.3% (-0.5 pts.) last year.
  • 7.8% of our U.S. managers identify as LGBTQ, down from 8.7% (-0.9 pts.) last year.
  • 1.7% of our U.S. workforce identify as having a disability, up from 1.4% (+0.3 pts.) last year.
  • 1.4% of our U.S. workforce identify as veterans, up from 0.9% (+0.5 pts.) last year.

 

Women at Slack – Global | Gender at Slack

U.S. Overall | Race & Ethnicity at Slack

U.S. Technical | Race & Ethnicity at Slack

U.S. Non-Technical | Race & Ethnicity at Slack

U.S. Managers | Race & Ethnicity at Slack

U.S. Leadership | Race & Ethnicity at Slack

Beyond the numbers

Hiring and reporting are only part of our commitment to diversity, engagement and belonging. The importance of recognizing and honoring how people self-identify is important not just for this report but for our everyday relationships as colleagues. For example, in our own Slack workspaces, we use custom profile fields to create a space for people to indicate their pronouns, and we encourage people of any gender identification to be explicit in how they would like to be addressed.

We’ve built and continuously improved upon a number of programs to support, engage and extend our communities. A few examples include:

Slack for Good

Slack for Good has a mission to increase the number of historically underrepresented people in the technology industry through not just resources but strong partnerships and action. Slack for Good’s initiatives include:

  • Next Chapter, a pilot program aiming to help formerly incarcerated individuals find skilled, long-term employment in the technology sector and shift perceptions around re-entering individuals.
  • The Early Career Accelerator Program (ECAP), a partnership with Code2040, with whom we also partner to recruit interns, that supports Black and Latinx professionals in the first two years of their technology careers. Our first cohort just finished, and the results in confidence indicators were very promising and gave us much to build from.

Rising Tides

To better engage and retain high performers, we focused on sponsorship and launched Rising Tides. Rising Tides is a six-month sponsorship program for a talented and diverse group of high performers and emerging leaders at Slack who have historically lacked access to this support. Program participants receive career development training, executive coaching and one-on-one sponsorship with a Slack executive team member, with a focus on building a supportive community of peers. Our first cohort focused on women and gender-nonconforming people of color, while our second cohort, launching this month, will focus on any active members of our five Employee Resource Groups (Women, Earthtones, Veterans, Out and Abilities).

Year Up

Year Up is an internship program for underserved young adults from which Slack gets a number of its fall interns. To date, 75% of our Year Up interns have converted to full-time roles.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Our ERGs help drive belonging among our employees by providing support, professional development and a range of programs to employees. This year, we put more structure behind our ERGs, launching a charter and more clearly defining a feedback loop among ERGs, their executive sponsors and our leadership as a whole. We’ve also instituted formal processes to recognize the time commitment of ERG leads and volunteers. Slack’s five ERGs currently include:

  • Earthtones: Our ERG for those who identify as people of color has focused on the professional development of its members, including the launch of a career development series with skill-building workshops.
  • Abilities: In addition to product-accessibility work, Abilities engages the community by hosting meet-up groups for larger conversations about accessibility improvements.
  • Veterans: Our Veterans’ ERG partners with organizations and conferences like Breakline and SACC. The group also focuses heavily on internal education among employees and managers.
  • Out: This year, Slack’s Out ERG for LGBTQ employees will help drive Slack’s presence at World Pride in New York. The ERG focuses on global community building with volunteer events across our offices.
  • Women: Our women’s ERG is our first ERG to have representation across all Slack offices and sponsors a variety of mentoring and networking programs and workshops, including a recent course on executive presence for women.

Diversity, engagement and belonging remain at the center of Slack’s values. We are committed to putting resources and attention toward improving the engagement, retention and promotion of the incredible talent we have, now and in the future. The future of work must be inclusive, and our commitment to that vision is critical to our success and that of our customers.

 

¹ Slack diversity data as of December 31, 2018

² Other than gender, we have limited our demographic reporting to U.S.-based employees in order to adhere to local laws in the other countries in which we operate.

³ We report today on women specifically as a reflection of our current data, but we know and support the fact that gender is not binary. We collect self-reported information on gender identity and, this year, we updated and expanded our gender-identity options to collect data on the genders of our community more inclusively.

Underrepresented minorities (URMs) include Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and American Indian, Indigenous or Alaska Native.

The vast majority of employees do not choose to disclose whether or not they identify as having a disability or as veterans; the data we share here is based on the small number who do disclose this information.

Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.