By Julia Carrie Wong
Company pledged to measure diversity after a wave of scrutiny, but numbers reveal its tech leadership team is entirely white and Asian, and 88.7% men.
Uber released its first diversity report on Tuesday, fulfilling a pledge made last month amid a storm of allegations about workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
The numbers reveal a workforce that is overwhelmingly made up of white or Asian men. Just 15.4% of the tech staff are women, while blacks and Latinos account for 1% and 2.1% of tech staff, respectively.
The company’s technical leadership is entirely white and Asian, and 88.7% male.
Non-technical workers – including customer support staff, who are 33.5% black – show more representation of women and minorities. Overall, 36.1% of workers are women, 8.8% are black and 5.6% are Latino.
“In addition to moving the ball forward on all the data above, we recognize the relative lack of diversity across all forms of leadership, including on our board of directors, and will be thoughtful about diversity as the company grows,” the company wrote in the report.
The report does not include Uber drivers, who are classified as independent contractors.
“We applaud Uber for finally releasing the diversity data it’s held on to for so long, but the company still clearly has a long way to go, given its extremely segregated tech workforce,” said Orson Aguilar, the president of the Greenlining Institute, an organization that promotes economic opportunity for people of color. “Uber should strive to have its workforce meet the diversity of its drivers, who are 50% people of color.”
Uber also announced that it would donate $3m over the next three years to organizations that promote women and underrepresented minorities in tech.
Uber had long resisted releasing demographic data about its workforce, even as other major tech companies began publishing annual reports under pressure from activists.
But a viral blogpost by a former employee alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and inadequate responses from management prompted the company to change its tune. Uber hired former US attorney Eric Holder to investigate the workplace, and enlisted board member Arianna Huffington to promise fundamental change in the corporate culture. The company also promised to release its demographic data.
“I know that we have been too slow in publishing our numbers – and that the best way to demonstrate our commitment to change is through transparency. And to make progress, it’s important we measure what matters,” CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement.
Uber’s damage control efforts have not halted a string of negative headlines that have included the sexual harassment allegations, a viral #DeleteUber campaign, a video of Kalanick berating an Uber driver, the exposure of a program to systematically evade law enforcement, a damaging lawsuit that could threaten the company’s self-driving car program, and a string of executive departures.
In the past week, Uber lost another top executive, president Jeff Jones, who said the company’s “beliefs and approach to leadership” were “inconsistent” with his own. Also, one of the company’s self-driving cars was involved in a collision in Arizona, prompting Uber to temporarily suspend the program.
In addition, a report emerged that Kalanick and other senior employees visited an escort/karaoke bar in Seoul in 2014, an activity that made a female marketing manager uncomfortable. Gabi Holzwarth, an ex-partner of Kalanick, related the incident to the Information after, she said, Uber senior vice-president Emil Michael pressured her not to tell the press about it.
Uber’s diversity statistics are generally in line with other major tech employers, which have overwhelmingly failed to hire female, Latino, or black workers, especially in highly paid technical roles.
Google’s tech workforce is 19% female, 1% black, and 3% Latino. Facebook’s tech workforce is 17% female, 1% black, and 3% Latino.