2017 was a whirlwind year for Uber: the company dealt with engineer Susan Fowler’s account of sexism during her time at Uber, it lost one CEO and gained a new one, and it faced a lawsuit from Waymo, just to mention a few events. Along the way, Uber published its first diversity report, and the results were surprisingly better than expected. Although Uber was still a predominantly white and male company, like many Silicon Valley tech companies, it posted a better representation of women, blacks, and Latinx people than Facebook, Airbnb, or Pinterest.
Uber’s second diversity report just came out, and it’s the company’s first report since Dara Khosrowshahi took over as CEO last August. Since March 2017, much at the company has changed, and Khosrowshahi has been tasked with the job of reversing the toxic bro culture of sexual harassment in the workplace that prevailed under Travis Kalanick. So how well has he done so far? The report shows that Uber is making meager progress on diversity, despite efforts to pool resources into employee support groups and hire a diversity sourcing team.
First, its gender statistics: globally, as of March 2018, 62 percent of Uber employees are male, and 38 percent of employees are female. Those numbers are up from last year’s numbers of 63.9 percent men and 36.1 percent women. (There is no listed percentage of nonbinary people.)
The gender disparity widens when you look at Uber’s tech employees versus non-technical employees: women only make up 17.9 percent of tech positions at Uber, while men hold 82.1 percent of tech jobs. It’s a slow, single-digit progress. In 2017, 15.4 percent of women held tech jobs compared to 84.6 percent of men.
Uber seems to have made more progress in regions outside of the US, especially in Latin America, where at 47 percent women and 52.9 percent men, the gap is almost closed. In 2017, numbers in Latin America told a different story: women trailed behind men by almost 20 percentage points at 40 percent.
At the top of the totem pole, tech leadership is comprised of 15.6 percent women and 84.4 percent men. Last year’s numbers were 11.3 percent women and 88.7 percent men. Even Uber admits it’s not where it needs to be yet. The number of women leaders in non-technical positions has actually fallen to 22.3 percent this year compared to last year’s 26.2 percent.
Uber is still predominantly white at 48.6 percent, Asian at 32.3 percent, black clocking in at 8.1 percent, and Latinx at 6.1 percent. Again, when it comes to tech positions, the gap widens further. Black and Latinx people hold a total of 5.6 percent of tech roles, up from holding 3.1 percent collectively in 2017. Curiously, the number of Asian people in tech roles has actually decreased to 44.7 percent, down from 47.9 percent in 2017.
While numbers don’t divulge actual corporate culture and whether marginalized employees are feeling more supported and comfortable at Uber, they are tangible results that can be measured. It’s one of the ways watchdogs and activists can continue to hold tech companies like Uber accountable.