When it comes to workplace diversity in tech, Slack has always been an industry leader. The company, which is known for its enterprise chat software, constantly measures its diversity gains through partnerships with organizations like Code2040, Year Up and Project Include in an effort “to find more candidates with underrepresented backgrounds and develop strategies for the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.”
While in the past, Slack has promoted an internal structure conducive to its diversity push, its recent workforce increase has made it difficult to proceed as it has in the past. As any company grows, things change, including past highly touted programs concerning revenue generation, hirings, and more. For Slack, with the doubling of its company, hiring nearly 800 new employees, the organization seems to be hitting the well known “diversity wall” that all tech companies encounter.
The numbers for women, Hispanic, and black employees were able to keep pace with the new hiring, but with Hispanics and blacks accounting for under 15% of the global workforce, it seems there is still a disconnect between minorities and tech. Slack’s female employee numbers grew a bit particularly in management positions. According to Inc “Slack’s best accomplishment was increasing its women in manager positions globally from 43 percent to 48 percent.”
For promoters of diversity in tech, this comes as a major blow. Slack has tried to build its organization around the benefits of diversity, but now, with their recent growth even their organization seems to be slipping into the norm. What this means for the short term is not good. If organizations cannot match companies like Slack with qualified Hispanic and black employees, then organizations that are experts in the field must change their tactics or possibly connect with organizations to help increase these numbers. I do believe diversity in tech is on the right track, after all nothing happens over night, but I also believe new and innovate ideas must be given to help push the narrative. Let’s hope Slack can bounce back from this and increase their diversity numbers to around 20% in the next year or so.