It feels like Uber is lurching from one PR disaster to another. Sexism and sexual harassment claims, the controversial Greyball program, CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with a driver, a group of senior employees (including Kalanick) visiting an escort/karaoke bar – the list goes on. To try and win back some of the public’s favor, the ride-hailing firm has released its first-ever diversity report.
Like pretty much every other US tech company, the report paints a picture of a predominantly male, white or Asian workforce. Men make up almost 64 percent of Uber’s global workforce and 78 percent of its leadership positions. But tech roles are where women are most underrepresented, making up just 15.4 percent of staff, which is very slightly better than Twitter (15 percent), but worse than Facebook (17 percent), and Google (19 percent).
When it comes to race and ethnicity, white and Asian workers make up almost 81 percent of all Uber staff. Just 8.8 percent are black, and 5.6 percent are Hispanic.
The differences are even more pronounced in Uber’s leadership roles, where men account for 78 percent of the positions, and there are no black or Hispanic leaders – a fact Uber notes in the report.
“Our leadership is more homogenous than the rest of our employees. For example, no Black or Hispanic employees hold leadership positions in tech. This clearly has to change—a diversity of backgrounds and experience is important at every level,” the report states.
The report is getting quite a lot of attention due to the terms used by various employee resource groups, where workers from different backgrounds come together to look at ways of improving the company’s culture. Terms such as Jewbers (Jewish employees), Los Ubers (Hispanic employees) and UberHUE (Black employees) have been met with some criticism, despite being named by the employees themselves.
It’s worth remembering that Uber classifies its drivers as contractors, and therefore they aren’t included in the report’s findings. “Uber should strive to have its workforce meet the diversity of its drivers, who are 50% people of color,” Orson Aguilar, the president of the Greenlining Institute, told The Guardian.
Uber says 41 percent of new employees are women, and it is "ramping up our presence at recruiting events around the country and our outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs)."