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Uber has published its much sought after diversity numbers for the first time

The company’s diversity is on par with the tech industry and that’s not great.

Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Day 1 Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Uber has published its much sought after diversity numbers for the first time since it was founded in 2009.

Unfortunately for the company, the pressure to publish the numbers mounted after former employee Susan Fowler published her account of the sexism and sexual harassment she endured during her year working at Uber.

The company has revealed that its diversity numbers are on par with much of the rest of the tech industry.

That’s not great.

Uber’s diversity data

Of Uber’s 12,000 employees — including satellite customer support and leasing agents — fewer than 40 percent are women. Moreover, black and Hispanic employees together make up only about 15 percent of its ranks, while white and Asian employees number around 80 percent.

Compare that to Google, which now has around 62,000 employees. As of 2016, the company’s workforce was 31 percent female and around 90 percent white and Asian. Only 5 percent of its employees were black or Hispanic.

The positives: In the last year, when Uber doubled its workforce, 41 percent of new hires were women. The company also says 15 percent of its employees have work visas and have immigrated from 71 different countries.

While the data doesn’t include the number of LGBTQ employees — it’s currently based on information the company receives during the employee on-boarding process — Uber says it received a top score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index — which looks at things like domestic partner and transgender benefits as well as diversity training.

The bleak: Uber only hired 3 percent more black and 2 percent more Hispanic employees in that time. The bleakest: The gender breakdown of the company’s engineering department. Only around 15 percent are women.


But the company says it’s ramping up its outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as Hispanic Serving Institutions, the federally funded colleges and universities that enroll a minimum number of Hispanic students. As part of that effort, Uber is committing $3 million to organizations that create pipelines into the tech industry for underrepresented groups.

“In recruiting, we’ve updated our job descriptions to remove potentially exclusionary language, and we are running interview training to make our hiring processes more inclusive for women in tech,” the company wrote in a blogpost. “We’re also rolling out training to educate and empower employees, covering topics like “why diversity and inclusion matters,” “how to be an ally,” and “building inclusive teams.” Training is not a panacea, but educating employees on the right behaviors is an important step in the right direction.”

Still, Uber may have some difficulty recruiting from these constituencies given the slew of scandals facing the company. In addition to Fowler’s account, the company saw a wave of departures of its top executives.

First it was Amit SInghal, the SVP of engineering hired in January, who was asked to resign because he did not disclose allegations of sexual harassment at his previous employer, Google. Ed Baker, the company’s VP of product, resigned shortly after he was reported to HR for making out with another staffer at an employee function. The company’s newly minted president, Jeff Jones, left after only six months on the job, saying his values weren’t in line with what he saw at Uber.

Moreover, as Recode first reported, CEO Travis Kalanick was adamantly opposed to publishing diversity statistics of any kind, in spite of frequent employee requests. To him, the HR department’s function was largely to focus on hiring without support for career development, diversity recruitment or sensitivity training — all common HR functions at most major companies.

“It’s no secret that we’re late to release these numbers,” Uber’s chief of human resources Liane Hornsey wrote. “And I’d like to thank our employees for their tenacity in arguing the case for greater transparency — because what you don’t measure, you can’t improve.”

So it’s hard not to see the company’s new dedication to diversity as a means to overhaul its recently marred public image, and it’s unclear whether candidates — particularly from underrepresented groups — will be able to overlook that.

That said, Uber’s new diversity and inclusion chief, Bernard Coleman III, who joined after working in the same role on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is being tasked with alleviating that. He has set up a number of new programs to promote inclusion and has hired more people onto his team.

Like most Silicon Valley companies, placing women and minorities into leadership positions is an ongoing issue for Uber. The company already has a number of women in top jobs, including the head of communications and policy, Rachel Whetstone, the head of HR, Liane Hornsey, and its general counsel, Salle Yoo.

But what sources describe as the true inner circle, the so-called “A-team,” is made up mostly of men, whom Kalanick is keen on protecting.

Uber board members Bill Gurley and Arianna Huffington are aiding Kalanick in his search for a chief operating officer, a role similar to the one Sheryl Sandberg plays at Facebook, a grown-up executive with wide-ranging control. They’re looking at a number of female candidates for the job. The company is also considering female candidates for the board seat that was left vacant after Alphabet executive David Drummond stepped down last year.

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