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Uber diversity report: Staff slightly less white and male

Over the past year, the ride-hailing company has been working to make things right around inclusion. Its diversity report shows some incremental progress.

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Uber is trying to have more women and people of color on its staff.

Uber

Uber released its second-ever diversity report on Tuesday, which shows how it's improved in some areas and in other areas, not so much.

The ride-hailing company saw a slight increase in the number of women and people of color in its workforce. And some of this rise is in areas that usually skew white and male, such as technology and leadership. But other departments have seen decreases in women and African Americans.

"Diverse, inclusive teams are a company's greatest asset: they challenge assumptions, drive innovation, and we believe strongly they are a competitive advantage," Liane Hornsey, Uber's chief people officer, said in a blog post Tuesday. "We have made meaningful progress over the last year, but we still have a lot of work to do to increase representation of women and underrepresented groups."

Of all tech companies, Uber likely has the most to prove in the diversity department. Last year it faced a reckoning that saw an exodus of high-level executives, five federal investigations and a damning internal investigation led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder. The unraveling began after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post alleging a chaotic corporate culture, gender bias and workplace sexual harassment.

In August, Uber hired new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. He's been working steadily over the last several months to turn the company around on the diversity front. Along with hiring the company's first chief diversity and inclusion officer, Bo Young Lee, he has worked with his staff to overhaul the way Uber recruits and hires in an effort to lessen bias.

"I have every reason to believe that Uber can evolve," Lee wrote in a LinkedIn post last week. "I am stubborn and I will not be satisfied until I know that I have made Uber a place where every person feels more validated, seen, valued, and included."

Over the last year, Uber says it increased its number of female employees by 1.9 percent to a 38 percent representation overall. Women in tech roles increased 2.5 percent to 17.9 percent; and those in tech leadership rose 4.3 percent to 15.6 percent. However, representation of women in overall leadership roles fell by 1.1 percent to 20.9 percent.

As far as race, Uber's staff is 48.6 percent white, which is 1.2 percent less than it was last year. It saw a slight increase of 0.5 percent in Latino employees but a decrease of 0.7 percent in black staff. In tech roles, 46.3 percent of its workers are white, but there's been an increase in both black and Latino workers of 1.6 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. With leadership roles, white representation is down 11.6 percent to 65.1 percent, while Asian, African American and Latino representation is up by 9.2 percent, 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

While Uber's numbers on diversity have increased only incrementally, its statistics are on par with the rest of the tech community. Google, Facebook, Apple and most other Silicon Valley companies have majority white male staffs too.

Uber says it's aiming to do more than just diversify its ranks. It's created employee resource groups and a global diversity workshop program focused on inclusion and creating company-wide commitments around diversity. It's also supporting organizations, like BUILD, Girls Who Code and SMASH, all of which aim to bring more women and underrepresented people into tech.

"There's also a sense of humility at Uber that's unexpected; no one seems to be defensive about the past or makes excuses for what happened," Lee wrote. I've been "encouraged by many of the efforts made over the past year -- they offer a solid foundation for me to build upon."

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