Uber Hits Reverse in Drive for Diversity

  • Black employees make up 8.1% of Uber’s workforce as of March 2018
  • Uber has no black leadership in tech-focused roles

Uber released its second diversity report for the period March 2017 to 2018, showing the company has a lot of room for improvement in hiring black employees. What does Uber need to do to make significant progress in diversifying its workforce?

Why This Matters: The overall percentage of black employees at Uber decreased to 8.1% in 2018, from 8.8% in 2017. The company made a small improvement in black tech workers, going from 1% to 2.6%. The ride hailing giant has taken a number of steps to address its diversity issue over the past year. Bo Young Lee took on the mantle of Chief Diversity Officer in January. Over 4,000 employees have participated in a workshop called “Why Diversity Matters.” Further, Uber overhauled its recruitment and hiring process, including more HBCUs in the schools it targets.

Bozoma Saint John, Uber’s Chief Brand Officer, is arguably its most high profile employee. She crisscrosses the country evangelizing the Uber brand and discussing how she is pushing for more diversity at the company. Yet she makes herself clear about who bears the onus of fixing the diversity issue at Uber and elsewhere in Silicon Valley. “Why do I — as the black woman — have to fix that? There's 50 of you, there's one of me. I want white men to make the noise," said Saint John.

What’s Next: Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, expects the company to go public in 2019. Look for diversity advocates to keep the pressure on leadership at the ride-hailing giant to ramp up its diversity efforts as its IPO approaches.

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