Uber reveals ‘diversity’ statistics

Uber suspends its pilot program for driverless cars after a vehicle equipped with the technology crashed in Arizona. Erica Ferrari reports.

UBER’S first report on employee diversity shows low numbers for women, especially in technical positions. In that regard, the company is similar to other Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple.

But Uber’s report comes as pressure mounts on the company in light of sexual harassment claims by a former employee, the antics of its embattled CEO Travis Kalanick and ongoing criticisms of a boorish “brogrammer” culture. Management defections include that of the company’s president, Jeff Jones, after just six months on the job.

Thirty-six per cent of the company’s worldwide employees are women, according to the report, which does not count drivers as employees. Google, in comparison, has 31 per cent women and Apple, 32 per cent. When it comes to technology jobs such as engineering, only 15 per cent are women at Uber. At Google, it’s 19 per cent and Apple, 23 per cent.

As with other tech companies, Uber is making some progress in diversifying its work force. The new hires at the company show a higher percentage of women — 41 per cent — as well as more under-represented minorities.

In the US, the largest ethnic group at Uber is white and the second largest is Asian. The report also shows that nearly 9 per cent of the company’s US employees are black and almost 6 per cent are Hispanic. At Google, a much larger company, the numbers are 2 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively. Uber also says 15 per cent of its US employees hold work visas, and they hail from 71 countries.

Other technology companies have not been disclosing this information, but it’s possible that they will follow Uber’s steps — especially as the industry continues to clash heads with President Donald Trump’s administration over immigration issues.

Uber has about 12,000 employees worldwide, about half in the US. The San Francisco company has hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to lead an investigation into the sexual harassment charges levelled by the former engineer, Susan Fowler. The company plans to release the findings next month.

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