Since Slack was founded, six years ago, we’ve been committed to embedding diversity, engagement and belonging (DEB) in our hiring practices and workplace culture. This is central to our company values, and we continue to prioritize these efforts. Since our last report, a lot has changed: We became a public company and grew to more than 2,000 employees. The world has also changed, and, as companies around the globe rapidly transition to remote work, we remain committed to ensuring that the diversity of our customers is reflected in Slack’s own teams.
Where we stand today¹
From January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019, our overall global head count increased by 624 employees.
This year², while Slack saw incremental increases for women in leadership roles (director level or above) and underrepresented minorities (URMs)³ in U.S. technical and leadership roles, we also saw a decrease of women managers and women in technical roles, as well as a decrease of URMs and LGBTQ managers in the U.S. This is a trend we’re taking very seriously and actively addressing, which we will expand upon further below.
Below are the breakdowns for each:
Globally, women⁴ constitute 44.9% of our workforce, down from 45.8% (–0.9 pts.) from our last report, in May 2019.
- 33.4% of people in technical roles are women, down from 34.6% (–1.2 pts.) last year.
- 46.1% of our managers (employees with direct reports) are women, down from 50.2% (–4.1 pts.) last year.
- 29.9% of our leadership (director level and above) are women, up from 29.6% (+0.3 pts.) last year.
In the U.S., 13.9% of our workforce is composed of people from one or more underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, down slightly from 14.0% (–0.1 pt.) last year.
- 14.5% of our U.S. technical organization is composed of people from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, up from 14.2% (+0.3 pts.) last year.
- 12.1% of our U.S. managers are from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, down from 13.0% (–1.0 pt.) last year.
- 9.2% of our U.S. leadership team is from underrepresented racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, up from 8.8% (+0.4 pts.) last year.
In the U.S., we also look at LGBTQ, disability and veteran⁵ status among employees.
- 7.6% of our U.S. workforce identify as LGBTQ, down from 7.8% (–0.3 pts.) last year.
- 6.0% of our U.S. managers identify as LGBTQ, down from 7.8% (–1.8 pts.) last year.
- 1.2% of our U.S. workforce identify as having a disability, down from 1.7% (–0.4 pts.) last year.
- 1.5% of our U.S. workforce identify as veterans, up from 1.4% (+0.1 pt.) 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
While Slack shares our annual report externally once a year, our efforts to increase representation and inclusion, and our internal communication around these topics, are ongoing throughout the year. We take a holistic approach to building an inclusive and diverse company and culture—from recruiting from a broad and diverse pool of talent, to training managers how to build trust with their teams and manage inclusively, to providing employees with opportunities for career development and mentorship.
We see the annual report as an opportunity to step back and critically evaluate our approaches. This includes developing new programs and improving upon existing ones based on what we learn from the data. Here are some of the programs that we’ve expanded on and implemented in the past year.
We’ve continued our partnership with Year Up, a workforce training program that connects underserved young adults with meaningful career pathways at companies like Slack. To date, 87.5% of our Year Up interns have converted to full-time roles, up from 75% the previous year. This encouraging success, coupled with our desire to expand access to marginalized communities, inspires us to continue investigating additional partnership options for nontraditional paths to tech.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Our ERGs help drive belonging among our employees by providing support, professional development and a variety of programs across Slack’s global offices—from professional development training to external recruiting and community events, including our first-ever women’s ERG event in our Tokyo office.
Expanding on the success of our ERGs, Slack launched our Community Incubator program this year to help new and growing groups thrive. The first ERG to officially graduate from our Community Incubator program is Mahogany, Slack’s ERG for individuals who identify as Black or from the African diaspora. Mahogany’s inaugural external event, “Real Talk: A night of fellowship and networking,” welcomed 250 attendees.
Our ERGs have proved to be strong vehicles for feedback and community building. In Q1 of 2020, we’re rolling out our pilot Women in Leadership community to offer rising senior leaders in our Women’s ERG more focused support around their career growth. We are hopeful this will be a step toward better understanding and addressing the decline we saw among women managers in 2019, and hope to leverage the lessons from this pilot to replicate this type of support for our other ERGs in the future.
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 type of 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 nonbinary employees (with a specific focus on people of color within the U.S.), while our second cohort focused on any active members of the five ERGs. In response to this year’s data, our third cohort will focus on senior-level underrepresented women and nonbinary employees who are on the verge of entering leadership roles, once again with a specific focus on people of color in the U.S.
Carrot Family-Forming Benefits
We want to ensure that our employees are supported both at work and in their personal lives, including making resources available to those hoping to start a family. In 2019, we partnered with Carrot so that all our employees and eligible spouses/domestic partners regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity may have access to quality fertility-related care.
This benefit includes access to fertility education, basic fertility evaluations, fertility preservation for women and men, IVF, genetic testing, egg freezing, gestational carriers, adoption, and more. We believe this benefit embodies the spirit of our support by providing the resources to make family-forming services accessible for everyone.
Slack for Good
Slack for Good has a mission to increase the number of historically underrepresented people in the technology industry. Initiatives include:
- Next Chapter, a program that helps formerly incarcerated individuals find skilled, long-term employment in the technology sector and shift perceptions around re-entering individuals. After completing the program in June 2019, all three apprentices from our first cohort are now full-time engineers at Slack. We shared this proposed blueprint for how other tech companies can use their resources to actively partner in breaking the cycle of incarceration.
- Slack for Good committees enable groups of employees across our global offices to partner with local nonprofits and charities in support of work they’re already doing. Each committee is annually tasked with identifying a nonprofit organization where Slack could make a cash contribution that creates meaningful impact and lasting improvement.
- An example of this is our Melbourne office’s partnership with Indigitek, a nonprofit whose mission is to create an inclusive community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a passion for creating a positive future in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Slack’s grant fully funded Indigitek’s first-ever event in Australia’s capital, Canberra.
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—whether everyone is sharing an office or working together remotely, as we are now. The future of work must be inclusive, and during this unprecedented time when our customers are facing more challenges than ever before, our commitment to that vision is critical to our success and to theirs.