Slack Concerned About Its Diversity
Although it’s not nearly the size of Apple, Google, or other tech giants, communications-startup Slack has followed their collective lead with its own diversity report, accompanied by a good deal of public hand-wringing over its internal demographics. “In this process, we asked ourselves a simple question—how can we do better?” began the company’s blog posting that accompanies the data. “We understand that our industry is not a welcoming place to everyone and we want to do our part to change that.” Overall, Slack is 70 percent Caucasian, 17 percent Asian, 4 percent African-American, and 7 percent “Mixed-Race/Other.” With regard to gender, women constitute some 39 percent of the company’s overall ranks, and 18 percent of its engineering core. “Our primary goal is to avoid becoming yet another place where underrepresented groups exit the technology industry,” the blog posting continued. “While much focus has been on the pipeline, we understand that increasing the diversity of applicants and new hires will not result in any significant change if people from underrepresented groups cannot thrive at the company.” In order to create such a thriving workplace, Slack plans on examining its hiring, compensation, and management practices to ensure “we are not inadvertently advantaging one group over another”; bringing in advisors to build “inclusive” processes for employee retention; making financial contributions to organizations that educate underrepresented groups in tech skills; and creating a “welcoming” workforce. This is Slack’s first time posting its demographics, and the success (or failure) of these initiatives will become clear only with subsequent diversity reports. If the progress of Google and Apple is any indication, it could be quite some time before Slack’s percentages change significantly.