Slack’s diversity report reveals how many people with disabilities it employs

Tech companies rarely, if ever, include information about how many people with disabilities they employ. Today, Slack is changing things up. According to the company’s latest diversity report, 1.7 percent of its employees identify themselves as having a disability.

As TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear noted, tech companies are generally hesitant to discuss disabilities. Slack, however, was rather open in its dialogue with O’Hear at the time about including that information in future diversity reports, as long as the company followed legal processes and employees were willing to share it. Good on Slack for following through.

Since its last report in February 2016, Slack’s workforce has more than doubled, to almost 800 employees across five countries. It also changed the way it presents the data to be in line with the methods required by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Slack declined to comment beyond what it posted on its blog.

In addition to people with disabilities, Slack included the aspects of a diversity report that many of us are familiar with, such as racial demographics and a gender breakdown across technical, non-technical and leadership roles. Slack also reported that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people make up 7.8 percent of its workforce in the U.S.

But let’s look at my favorite topic — race. In the U.S., underrepresented racial minorities in tech make up 11.5 percent of Slack’s workforce. In this case, underrepresented backgrounds include black, Latinx, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

In technical roles, people of color make up 11.4 percent of employees. You may remember that Slack at one point reported 8.9 percent of its engineering team was black and 6.9 percent of its technical team was black. You may now notice that its technical team is just 4.8 percent black and that the engineering department is included in the technical team breakdown.

What say thee? Well, Slack’s past reports were based on voluntary employee surveys, which means they were not as comprehensive as they could have been. Slack was also looking at the racial demographics of its employees globally, while this report only takes race into account for U.S.-based employees.


[gallery ids="1481374,1481375,1481371,1481372,1481376,1481373"]

It would be remiss of me to not talk about white people and men, so here goes. Yes, both groups still exist at Slack, with white people making up 59.4 percent of the company’s workforce in the U.S. and men making up 56.5 percent of Slack’s global workforce. If I could break out the number of white men at Slack, you best believe I would, but unlike past reports, Slack did not include any stats around intersectionality.

Anyway, you can check out the rest of the stats above in the gallery. Moving forward, it’s unclear what Slack’s goals are, given the fact that it didn’t share any. But Slack says it anticipates “much more experimentation and growth over the coming years,” the company wrote in its report.

“We have always said we want Slack to be a place where people of all different backgrounds
thrive,” the report states. “This report is part of our commitment to the transparency required to make progress in this space. Ultimately, we would like to be the kind of company that could serve as an example of diversity and business success going hand ­in ­hand, and we’re committed to doing the work to get there.”