Uber employs a relative dearth of women and racial minorities, particularly in technical roles, the company said Tuesday — another example of the lack of diversity that persists across the technology industry.
The ride-hailing company, which made public its data on employee diversity for the first time, said that women make up 36.1 percent of Uber’s global workforce and 32.9 percent of its employees in the United States and Canada, but they hold just 15.4 percent of technical positions.
In the United States, the numbers are starker for racial minorities, the data shows. Uber employees identifying as Asian make up 30.9 percent of the ride-hailing company’s U.S. workforce and hold 47.9 percent of technical roles. Meanwhile, black employees make up 8.8 percent of the U.S. workforce and just 1 percent of technical roles. For Hispanics, the breakdown was 5.6 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
According to the data, nearly 50 percent of the company’s U.S. workforce and 46.2 percent of employees in technical roles identify as white.
Employees at the director level and above are less diverse than the staff at large. Just 22 percent of Uber leaders worldwide are women. In the United States, 20.1 percent identify as Asian, while 2.3 percent are black and 0.8 percent are Hispanic.
Like other big players in the tech industry, Uber has faced pressure from activists, politicians and its own employees to release data about the diversity of its workforce. In January, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson penned a letter to Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick urging him to release employee data. The company has resisted such calls in the past, but finally disclosed the numbers on Tuesday.
“This report is a first step in showing that diversity and inclusion is a priority at Uber,” Kalanick said in a statement. “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.”
Uber pledged Tuesday to donate $3 million to groups that promote diversity in tech and said it intends to step up recruitment at universities serving the black and Hispanic communities.
The lack of diversity is a challenge across the tech sector, according to the most recently published company data.
- At Google, women make up 31 percent of the global workforce and 19 percent of technical roles. The company’s U.S. employees are 32 percent Asian, 2 percent black and 1 percent Hispanic.
- Apple is roughly the same. Women make up 32 percent of employees worldwide and 23 percent of technical roles. Its U.S. workforce is 19 percent Asian, 9 percent black and 12 percent Hispanic.
- Facebook counts women as 33 percent of its global workforce and 17 percent of technical roles. In the United States, the workforce is 38 percent Asian, 2 percent black and 4 percent Hispanic.
Most of the companies, including Uber, report that their hiring in the last year shows signs of gradual improvement.
Uber faced serious questions earlier this year about its treatment of women in the workplace after a former engineer published a blog post detailing alleged instances of sexual harassment and discrimination. The employee, Susan Fowler Rigetti, accused Uber’s human resources department of protecting male employees and said that female representation on her team declined during the year she worked at the company.
That blog post prompted Uber to hire former attorney general Eric Holder Jr. to investigate the claims and evaluate the company’s discrimination policies. That review is ongoing and independent of the diversity figures released Tuesday, the company said.
Liane Hornsey, Uber’s new chief human resources officer, said last week that the company’s focus on diversity and inclusion is the “foundation of positive cultural change.” In January, the company hired Bernard C. Coleman III, former head of the Democratic National Committee who also headed human resources for Hillary for America, to lead its diversity initiatives.
Uber has since updated job descriptions to eliminate “unconscious bias,” held diversity training sessions for employees and made its hiring committees more diverse, Hornsey said.
The moves are part of a broader undertaking to rehabilitate Uber’s image after a series of scandals in recent months. In addition to the sexual discrimination allegations, Uber has faced a consumer boycott of its service on political grounds and announced the departures of several high-profile managers.
“Going forward, there can be no room at Uber for brilliant jerks and zero tolerance for anything but totally respectable behavior in an equitable workplace environment,” Uber board member Arianna Huffington told reporters last week.
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