As Slack expands, its diversity improves

5 Feb 2016

Less than six months after releasing its first diversity report, communication platform provider Slack has produced a new draft on the back of huge growth.

Why would a company release a diversity report so soon after the first release? “The answer is simple: we got a lot bigger very quickly,” says Slack.

Back in September, the 170-strong labour force self-reported a relatively diverse make up. Since then, though, numbers have more than doubled, with Slack now employing 370 people worldwide.

The results show that positions held by non-caucasian staff are rising almost across the board, with one-third of positions now people of black or African-American, Middle Eastern or Arab-American, Asian, Hispanic or Native American backgrounds.

Slack diversity

The percentage of female staff, which was around the 39pc mark last October, has risen to almost 43pc now throughout the company, with around one quarter of engineering and technical roles now filled by women.

With European operations running through its Dublin office, Slack has previously spoken of its drive to ensure an equal footing for any potential colleagues.

For example, last October, its Dublin regional manager Hanni Ross spoke of how they recruit, and retain, numbers.

“Every decision we make across hiring, promotion, management, access to training etc, we make sure we don’t exclude anyone,” said Ross. “We also look at retention to make sure there are no patterns there, as well as pipelines.”

Slack diversity

It’s not all good news, though, with Slack noting some areas of concern that it is now focused on addressing.

For example, while there are women leaders throughout its engineering and technical organisations, there are still no leadership positions in engineering, product or design held by under-represented minorities (URMs).

“This is a glaring omission,” says the company. “We recognise that we still have a long way to go.

“All in all, our takeaway from this is that talking about diversity and inclusion keeps the issue front of mind for ourselves and our people. So we are going to keep talking about it.

“Of course, talk is not enough. We will continue to regularly report on our status so that we can be held accountable, and we will continue to look for ways in which we can improve.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic