Skillshare Reviews

Updated Dec 23, 2020

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4.2
78%
Recommend to a Friend
76%
Approve of CEO
Skillshare CEO Matt Cooper
Matt Cooper
17 Ratings
  1. Featured Review

    "Amazing place to work!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skillshare full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Fast-growing company with transparency as its motto. - Challenging work along with amazing peers. - Friendly and reachable management.

    Cons

    None that I have noticed.

  2. COVID-19

    "Extremely talented engineering team!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skillshare full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Disclaimer: I am an engineer and can only really speak to working on the engineering team. I hold privilege and my views may not be representative of other employees, particularly those from underrepresented groups. The tech stack has evolved significantly since I started work here, moving from a PHP 5.6 monolith and REST API to PHP 7.4 main application, GraphQL and a series of NodeJS and PHP micro-services. Things are far from perfect, but the engineering team are a dedicated and resourceful bunch that value doing things the right way. The engineering team is the most talented and diverse I've ever worked on; practically all-star, but incredibly humble and always willing to lend a hand. Absolutely cannot fault the aptitude or attitude of a single engineer. You will be in awe. There is a strong culture of growth and learning and 'SKers' are encouraged to spend time helping others internally and externally; whether via public speaking at events, offering work experience opportunities to people from underrepresented groups, or presenting knowledge and mentoring more junior colleagues. Time off is freely granted and you are not made to feel guilty for taking this; whether it's because you're ill physically or mentally, because you need to take care of personal matters, or for a holiday - you're good to go. The company really want you to bring your whole self to work so you do what you gotta do to make that happen. The product itself is incredibly worthwhile. You will be making a difference in people's lives. This has really shone in 2020 - people who have lost traditional jobs to the pandemic have turned to creative endeavours and entrepreneurship to make up for a shortfall in income and experience. People have learned new skills and changed careers thanks to Skillshare's product offering, and the open platform allows teachers to earn passive income which has been a lifesaver for many. Warm fuzzies abound.

    Cons

    - It seems unlikely that junior developers will ever get a foot in here; engineering recruiting is currently restricted to more senior positions. - Senior management needs to work on authenticity, particularly when it comes to DEI initiatives, where talk is obviously rehearsed and stifled when they are put on the spot. - Senior management are well aware of the lack of diversity at the top, but have still not managed to rectify this. Whilst the company as a whole has increased in diversity, this only really extends to ICs.

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    Skillshare Response

    January 4, 2021CEO

    Thanks for the feedback, and appreciate all of the positive comments about our team. Regarding your concerns, I wanted to address the authenticity of our communications around DEI initiatives. I will be the first to admit that this is not my comfort zone. I can shoot from the hip about most topics, but DEI is something that is still a work in progress for me. If the leadership team comes across as scripted or stiff, it's because we want to make sure we're deliberate and thoughtful with our words. We know they have an impact, so please don’t take the mediocre delivery as a lack of authenticity, interest, or concern. We take the diversity and inclusiveness of our team very seriously and put a lot of thought and resources into doing better. The good news is we are making real progress: 51% of hiring manager screens, 56% of onsite interviews, and 61% of new hires came from underrepresented groups in the 2H 2020. At the most senior level, we were able to bring some much-needed diversity to our board of directors which is now 3 women and 4 men, and 4 of our 7 directors are people of color. Again, I appreciate the feedback and we will continue to put in the hard work needed. I personally will continue to work on getting more comfortable talking about these issues.


  3. Helpful (7)

    "Great team and product, but failing on promises"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Other 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Skillshare full-time

    Pros

    The employees are generally some of the most talented, down-to-earth people. They are a pleasure to work with and are driving forward really interesting work (when they can get past the cons listed below). The company mission is inspiring, and it is encouraging to hear of how the product has helped our users. Outlook is very strong for the company.

    Cons

    The executive team allows a toxic environment to fester. There is a culture of defensiveness and favoritism that protects ineffective and bullying managers, silences employees, and slows innovation and projects within the company. Employees who raise concerns get a meeting with someone in leadership and promises things are being looked into, with no changes following. Despite public statements, DEI efforts are stalled and little is being communicated about concrete steps being taken to improve hiring, retention, and promotion of employees from marginalized backgrounds. The CEO doesn't seem engaged in DEI efforts and has made comments in employee forums making light of DEI conversations or downplaying his role in problems relating to DEI. There's a lot of talk about transparency, but it is mostly just talk. Employees know raising concerns goes nowhere and impacts their promotion prospects. The team is very lean, and hiring plans are not discussed. It's unclear how the company expects growth to continue while forcing some employees to work what would be multiple positions in companies of similar size. While there's talk about work/life balance, it varies by team and the expectation is trending more and more to get things done no matter what.

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    Skillshare Response

    August 11, 2020CEO

    I want to take this opportunity to respond to your feedback directly since employee experience at Skillshare deeply matters to me as does the ongoing efforts we’ve put into our values, culture, and DEI initiatives. While 94% of our employees say they are “proud to work at Skillshare” and 95% say they are confident in the company and leadership, it’s clear we still have work to do with 6% and 5% respectively. It’s also clear we can do more to create an environment where you would have shared this feedback directly with your manager, the People Operations team, or with me. If I can bucket your feedback, it boils down to: 1) Lack of transparency 2) Stalled progress on our DEI initiatives 3) My own commitment to DEI 4) Concerns around defensiveness 5) Work/life Balance 1) In the spirit of transparency, I wanted to share here what we laid out last week in our company-wide quarterly meeting about our current state of DEI and our commitment to ongoing initiatives: 2a) Here are the data and specific programs already underway: - 44% of all hires made in the first half of the year were from underrepresented groups, defined as LGBTQ+ or people of color; that number is now rising as the initiatives below are already delivering results - We did this by implementing a 2+ week diversity sourcing period before any job is launched publicly, to make sure we get a head start on building a diverse pipeline of candidates - We launched our affinity groups more than a year ago to create a safe environment for underrepresented people to share concerns and discuss the challenges they face - We hired outside firms like LifeLabs, Nova Collective and Paradigm on a quarterly basis to bring in outside expertise and provide DEI training on various topics for both managers and the broader team - We recently launched a partnership with Jopwell to improve our sourcing and applicant pool in the Black community 2b) Here are the commitments we made for the second half of 2020: - Hiring a Head of People Operations to help accelerate our initiatives below - Launching a DEI task force to coordinate all of our activities across teams and ensure more visibility within the company - 60+% of Hiring Manager screens will be with candidates from underrepresented racial groups to ensure a diverse candidate pool - At least 2 candidates from underrepresented racial groups must be interviewed before we commit to making a hire - Create equitable internal position transfer process for open roles - Develop a process to audit racial diversity of those being put up for promotion - Audit of hiring practices by Paradigm to ensure inclusivity and accurate pipeline tracking - Open up new lines of communication with the exec team -- office hours, small group sessions with me every week, standardizing skip-level meetings; this is in addition to our weekly town hall meetings and quarterly business reviews where we share a lot of detailed information on what’s going well and where we need to improve - Launching new management training programs with LifeLabs on high-performance management and inclusive management techniques - As part of our 2H OKRs, every department will have specific DEI initiatives unique to their function 3) My own commitment to our DEI efforts: I am tremendously proud that our company is putting this much thought and this many resources into our values, culture, and DEI initiatives. I apologize if a comment I made suggested otherwise, or if I’ve failed to communicate this sufficiently. 4) Concerns around defensiveness Change is hard, and many of us have had some uncomfortable introspection over the last few months in particular as racial injustice has again come to the forefront. I am admittedly struggling with defensiveness right now as I write this. I’m proud of who we are and what we’ve built but know we can do better and we will. 5) Work/life Balance We always strive for a high-performance culture that gives our team the room to live a full life. Our policies around a remote-friendly working model, unlimited vacation and flex time, and accommodating different working hours for parents and those with dependent care needs are just a few. That said, the post-COVID world has blurred the lines between work and home, and we know many employees (particularly parents) are struggling to balance it all. If you have ideas of how we can do better, we’d love your input. Transparency is a core value at Skillshare We are better when each member of our team feels like they can shape the direction of our company so I would encourage you to share these concerns directly with me or any member of the leadership so we can better understand and address them. Transparency and Impact are core values, and you should feel comfortable raising issues, advocating for change, and proactively leading from within. Matt

  4. Helpful (5)

    "Lacks the benefits of a startup with all the typical startup problems"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Skillshare full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The flexible work culture is great - it's rare to work long hours. But this is dependent on your department and your manager. There is unlimited PTO and a one-time office stipend. The company is now remote but we used to have free lunch, cold brew and fun events. Most of the employees, mainly the individual contributors, are talented, hardworking and empathetic people. Some of the best people you'll ever meet work here.

    Cons

    - Favoritism: There is a clique of inexperienced managers who have been at the company for 4+ years and are rewarded for institutional knowledge and loyalty, not industry experience. One in particular has been reported several times for bullying and discrimination, yet continues to be a senior manager with many direct reports. - No accessibility to execs: This is typically a plus side of working at a smaller company but not at Skillshare. Even at a company of ~100 employees, it's really difficult to get facetime with an exec and execs don't really try to get to know ICs. There are middle managers who exist to create blockers and act as the gatekeepers of executive feedback. - Management lacks transparency: Despite one of our core values being transparency, difficult questions or anything around diversity, are avoided by management or clouded by CEO's sales-speak. I've seen people speak up and then be placed in a closed door meeting and the issue never brought up again. There is no official senior HR rep, so a lot of this is handled by inexperienced management. - Productivity issues: Not a lot gets done at Skillshare. We're risk-averse and have analysis paralysis, which means slow product growth, inefficient workflows and too many meetings. Expect a lot of departmental silos, micromanagement and management blockers. - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Don't be fooled by the public BLM statement. Skillshare is far from making any strides in DEI. Most minorities (by race or sexual orientation) do not feel comfortable here and don't get promoted. P.S. the company considers "white women" a marginalized group.

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    Skillshare Response

    August 13, 2020CEO

    I’m sorry to hear you feel this way about the company. As you noted, transparency is a core value and we go to great lengths to give our team opportunities to raise concerns, both publicly and confidentially. I’m sorry that you don’t feel well served by those processes. While I’d love to discuss this 1x1 (and invite you to reach out to do so), I’ll respond to your concerns here in the meantime. Some thoughts on your comments: 1) Favoritism and management We review all of our managers’ performance through their 360 reviews, and I can assure you that negative feedback from their direct reports is discussed in detail. You obviously do not have full visibility into the ratings of our managers, but we did not have a single manager in our July 2020 review process who received negative feedback from a majority of his/her direct reports. We have never promoted someone with more than 25% negative feedback from their team. Our overall engagement score from our employees in that survey remained at all-time highs and well ahead of industry benchmarks. Contrary to your post, we do not have any managers who have a discrimination claim against them. We have a well-documented process of how we address those claims, and we take it very seriously. If you have specific information that we are not aware of, please report the incident to our people operations team and follow the process outlined in page 6 of the employee handbook so that we can give the issue the attention it deserves. 2) Accessibility to execs I’ve never turned down a request to meet with an employee, nor has any member of our executive team, but I recognize that it can be intimidating to ask an exec for that time. To that end, we announced last week (prior to you writing this) standing office hours with all members of the exec team, where you can grab available time every week to discuss whatever is on your mind. I also hold small group meetings every week to hear what’s going on from people I don’t get to connect with through the normal course of business. If you have any suggestions for how I can be more accessible or if you would like to have a direct conversation around all of your feedback, please let me know. 3) Productivity I agree with your statement that our “employees... are talented, hardworking and empathetic people. Some of the best people you'll ever meet .” We have always run a lean team to ensure we are on solid financial ground, and never put ourselves at risk of layoffs. As such, it’s no surprise that our revenue per employee is already greater than many public companies. From June 2018 to June 2020, our headcount grew by 2x and our billings grew by almost 4x. I’m not sure which team(s) you are referring to, but your claim that "not a lot gets done at Skillshare" is an unfair assessment of your colleagues. I am proud of the work our team has done to get us to this point and it is one of the most talented, resourceful, intelligent teams I have ever worked with in my career. 4) Diversity, equity, and inclusion We have work to do here and are committed to doing that work and deploying the resources to make sure we are walking the walk. We have partnered with DEI leaders both externally and internally to build a comprehensive approach to DEI and it is the core of our People Operations OKRs. Here is a partial list of what we’ve done to date and the commitments we’ve made for the remainder of 2020. Initiatives already in place: - Skillshare put in place a very innovative comp structure several years ago to ensure that employees were paid based on their role and not their negotiating skills - we have a flat non-negotiable salary for every role and level to ensure equity - This extends to how we grant options - we follow a formulaic approach that ensures everyone is granted an equal number of options based on their role and leveling - 44% of all hires made in the first half of the year were from underrepresented groups, defined as LGBTQ+ or people of color; that number is well ahead of tech sector averages, and it continues to rise as the initiatives below are already delivering results in July and August - We did this by implementing in 2019 a 2+ week diversity sourcing period before any job is launched publicly, to make sure we get a head start on building a diverse pipeline of candidates - We also launched our affinity groups more than a year ago to create a safe environment for underrepresented people to share concerns and discuss the challenges they face; the affinity group leaders played a key role in helping us define our DEI strategy - We’ve hired outside firms like LifeLabs, Nova Collective and Paradigm on a quarterly basis to bring in outside expertise and provide DEI training on various topics for both managers and the broader team - We recently launched a partnership with Jopwell to improve our sourcing and applicant pool in the Black community Initiatives for 2H 2020 - Hiring a Head of People Operations to help accelerate our initiatives below - Launching a DEI task force to coordinate all of our activities across teams and ensure more visibility within the company - We are committing to 60+% of Hiring Manager screens with candidates from underrepresented racial groups to ensure a diverse candidate pool - At least 2 candidates from underrepresented racial groups must be interviewed before we commit to making a hire - Create equitable internal position transfer process for open roles - We will develop a process to audit the racial diversity of those being put up for promotion - Audit of hiring practices by Paradigm to ensure inclusivity and accurate pipeline tracking - Opening up new lines of communication with the exec team -- office hours, small group sessions with me every week, standardizing skip-level meetings; this is in addition to our weekly town hall meetings and quarterly business reviews where we share a lot of detailed information on what’s going well and where we need to improve - Launching new management training programs with LifeLabs on high-performance management and inclusive management techniques - As part of our 2H OKRs, every department will have specific DEI initiatives unique to their function I am very proud of the team and company that we’ve built, and I am also very aware that we still have many opportunities to improve. I absolutely welcome the feedback and hope that you will work with us to make Skillshare an even better place to work.

  5. Helpful (3)

    "Great team & community"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Skillshare full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I was fortunate to work with a talented, highly collaborative team at Skillshare. Everyone understood the company's goals, the product ecosystem and how their work as an individual affected both. Open collaboration and qualitative research helped me understand the specific needs of students, teachers, and our own content creators.

    Cons

    There were no reportable cons for my role.

  6. Helpful (14)

    "Great on paper, but read between the lines"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skillshare full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Skillshare has a wonderful mission, a ton of talented people and a strong trajectory if it keeps up the commitment to quality content and users. Unlimited vacation, delicious catered lunch and a genuinely smart, funny, welcoming team.

    Cons

    This could be the best ever place to work, except for a few awkward decisions and policies that undermine morale, growth and yes, the product. There’s barely an HR team, and the promise of open-door, fully-transparent upper management has some glaring blind spots. The executive team isn’t receptive to repeated feedback around a few bad apples in management positions who consistently micro-manage, undermine and bully teammates. As a result, talented and motivated staff feel defeated and anxious to leave. Despite great policies on paper, Skillshare suffers from the same favoritism, pay disparities and lack of diversity as any many other startups.

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  7. Helpful (3)

    "Best Company I've Ever Worked for"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skillshare full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Where to begin! Socially good mission. Our goal is to harness technology to make education more affordable and accessible for people all over the world. We're focusing on the creative space right now and allow people to change their lives, discover their passions, and love their work. If you want to go to work every day and feel like you're having a real positive impact, this is the place for you. Strong business fundamentals. Business has been consistently growing since I've been here (over 3 years). Employees get competitive options with a very solid upside. Salary is in line with the New York tech scene. Unheard of Work/Life Balance. There are no such thing as "counting sick days." If you're sick, you just don't have to work or come in that days (which is how it should be). We have an unlimited vacation policy, because management knows that well rested employees are happier, more creative, and ultimately more productive. Management treats employees like adults. If you have to come in late for a doctor appointment, that's fine. If you need to leave early on a Friday, because you're going on vacation with your significant other, go ahead. We work hard, but as long as you get your work done you're allowed flexibility. The Perks. I mentioned the unlimited vacation policy above. Plus every in-office employee gets to work remotely for one month. At your 3 year anniversary you get either a one month paid sabbatical or an additional one month bonus pay. Catered lunch Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and work from home every Tuesday. Probably forgetting some things as well. The People. The people who work here are driven, empathetic, and collaborative. It's really a one-team mentality. They leave their egos at the door and are all laser focused on growing Skillshare and embarking on this journey. Transparency. Management is super transparent, laying down the rationale for strategic decisions and giving employees perspective on the company's finances. Again, sort of goes back to the "treat employees like adults" mantra. Plus the "no egos" thing applies to them as well. The CEO and the management team are open to feedback from everyone — whether you've been here for 5 years or 5 days. Whether this is your 20th year of work or your first. Every perspective is welcome and feedback is strongly encouraged.

    Cons

    No 401(k) match policy.

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  8. Helpful (2)

    "I love working here"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skillshare full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Supportive, empathetic, transparent company. Management's focus seems to be on hiring creative, and engaged people and then letting them be themselves. In specifics: - Transparent pay structure - Great benefits - Lunch provided if you are in the office - Good stock options - Great leadership

    Cons

    If you aren't someone who can figure out what you should be working on, it probably isn't a good fit. There is a lot of trust in the org which means you can have a lot of freedom around how you structure your time.

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  9. Helpful (1)

    "Curious, Collaborative, Mission-Driven Team"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Mobile Developer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skillshare full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great teammates striving, not competing, towards the same goal - Mission-driven towards creating access to education - Lots of autonomy; you grow as fast as you want to - Transparency across the company - Company isn't perfect, but when there are issues they are identified and troubleshoot - Great remote work culture

    Cons

    Nobody holds your hand (if you need that support, it's probably not a good fit) - Not your "party" startup culture (if you expect that, also not a good fit)

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  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great online education"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Online Tutor in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Skillshare full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    skillshare is providing all information about new technology within their many types of online courses.

    Cons

    There are no cons in Skillshare.

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