By James Farrell
After taking considerable flak recently for all manner of transgressions, Uber Technologies Inc. has maintained that one thing it’s going to sort out is its reputation as a “bro” workplace hostile to women.
That may be why it’s the right time to release a diversity report. The surprise, for some, is that Uber’s numbers especially for women don’t look any worse than for much of Silicon Valley. The bad news: It’s no better, either, indicating Uber has a long way to go.
What’s more, the report, which starts with a well-meaning collage depicting diversity and inclusivity, tells us what we already know: Just about all of the main players at Uber are white males.
With leadership positions at Uber being 88.7 percent male and 46.7 percent white, Uber says this has to change. “Our leadership is more homogenous than the rest of our employees. For example, no Black or Hispanic employees hold leadership positions in tech,” says the report.
Female tech staff at Uber number just 15.4 percent of staff, with black tech staff at just 1 percent and Latino tech staff at 2.1 percent. The media consensus: It’s nothing to brag about. Non-tech staff are far more diverse, and in Uber’s defense, these statistics are not that different from other leading tech companies.
For some time Uber had been criticized for not releasing a diversity report, but given its current almost-daily strife and board member Ariana Huffington’s grand pledge of a mass internal clean-up, Uber seems to have been pushed into a corner.
“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,” Orson Aguilar, the president of the Greenlining Institute, told The Guardian. The human rights activist then somewhat ambitiously stated that Uber’s internal workforce diversity should be similar to that of its drivers, who include about 50 percent people of color.
Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick, blacklisted again from popular approval for allegedly being part of the lecherous gang of execs singing songs with Korean hostess women, said things can only get better at Uber. “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,” he said. “And to make progress, it’s important we measure what matters.”