Business stories
Nov 11, 20194 min read

Diversity is an important building block for Klarna.

Profile Rachel

by Rachel Haines

Photo: Abraham Engelmark

Hey there,

I’m Rachel Haines and I am responsible for Organisation and Leadership; the Klarna domain that makes sure we are the best place to work.

At Klarna, we have a flat hierarchy which gives autonomy and responsibility to our brilliant teams; and my organization is the driving force behind maintaining this start-up culture. Whether it be our diverse group of awesome colleagues, the workplace or the technology, we cover the complete employee experience, ensuring our people are able to focus on what they do best – creating awesome solutions for our customers.

Our two main focus areas as an organization are, now and always, hiring and diversity.

The challenge

I’m gonna bore you here with some figures, but stay with me, it’ll be worth the read.

Considering our business as a whole, we’re currently 40% women and 60% men. In the tech, finance and startup sectors this is considered a good level but we’ll always strive for that golden 50% split.

However, some areas of the company are more unbalanced than others. Two competences spring to mind; Engineering and my own Organisation and Development (HR).

What matters – How can we solve this? Any way we can!

We’ve always spoken a lot about diversity at Klarna but this year we have put more focus on making this a top priority and are making improvements which I’m incredibly excited about.

First of all, we’ve sat down with all senior managers in our organization and tailored concrete action steps to increase diversity depending on their capacity. We’ve looked at how they hire and source candidates to avoid gender bias, especially for leadership roles.

We’ve also reviewed the application process and requirements around qualifications. Research shows that men apply for positions where they fit 6/10 of the qualifications (in other words they apply for positions above their pay grade) while women apply when they match 10/10. We’ve therefore removed most requirements in our job applications and made them more general to encourage a more equal mix of applicants.

We’re also working on making sure we have a welcoming and including culture for our existing employees in which women feel fully included. This means targeting culture and avoiding for example, male-centric jargon, through active discussions and coaching with our colleagues. An interesting piece of science here – research showed that it’s a widely held belief that women talk more than men; but evidence has suggested that this belief is mistaken. This is a typical example of the kind of bias we’re working to avoid by actively encouraging women to talk more openly in meetings and spread their great ideas.

We’re also proud of our really committed staff who actively drive equality initiatives and we’re trying to sponsor them whenever we can. Examples include an internal diversity & inclusion group called BeYou, holding coding events for women and non-binary employees, celebrations on International Women’s Day and sponsoring the Pride Parades in multiple locations among many many other things.


Photo: Abraham Engelmark

Our little melting pot

While we’re working hard on gender diversity. We are already a really diverse company when it comes to nationality. We’ve got people from over 85 countries under our roof all working towards the same goals. In my mind, different backgrounds mean different perspectives and pooling that together means that we’ve got every aspect covered. It’s our edge. Oh, and if you haven’t noticed, our corporate language is English in all our offices worldwide to optimize communication and to make sure everyone feels included. We’ve also hired a community manager for our growing community of expats to make sure that they feel included in the company and the culture of the country in which they’re working.

Thanks for reading all about how we are working hard on making Klarna more diverse. If you want to talk more about what we’re doing or have some suggestions on how we can do more, please get in touch. We are always interested in knowing how we can be better!

Stay tuned and read our next blog post from Katarzyna Kaduk, an Engineering Manager who is helping to drive our Women in Tech initiative!