A Rough Ride: Uber’s Adventures in Human Capital 

This week we’re putting the spotlight on Uber, one of the 25+ companies that we recently added to our diversity and human capital database.
 
Uber is clearly king of the road, but from a human capital perspective, the company has had an admittedly tumultuous ride over the past few years. 
 
In 2017, a former Uber engineer published a scathing blog post, which outlined widespread cases of harassment, discrimination and retaliation, and examples of the company’s ineffective HR policies and procedures. 
 
This led to an internal investigation by former AG Eric Holder, and the resulting Covington report, which among other things recommended a) the creation of a chief diversity officer role, b) regular publication of diversity statistics, c) increased targeting of diverse candidates, and d) the adoption of the “Rooney Rule” (interviewing at least one woman and one member of an underrepresented minority group for all open positions). 
 
After that report came out, Uber released its 2016 diversity data, which painted a picture of a company overwhelmingly led by white men. At that time, only 15.4% of the company’s tech staff were women, while Blacks and Latinos accounted for only 1% and 2.1% of the company’s tech staff, respectively. 
 
In many ways, this glaring lack of diversity mirrored that of other large tech companies at the time (an issue we analyzed in our July 21 newsletter). That’s because Uber is a technology company, and the data it provided only reflects its corporate workforce. It does not reflect millions of Uber drivers around the world, who are frequently classified as independent contractors (California, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and other states have pushed for gig worker laws that can affect an Uber driver’s employment status).
 
What’s changed for Uber since 2016?
 
We reviewed every EEO-1 report (covering Uber’s U.S. workforce), and global data that the company has self-reported since 2016. 
 
At the executive level in the U.S., women have been consistently underrepresented for several years. That said, the company saw a noticeable shift in 2021, adding 10.2 percent more women executives over the prior year. 
 
In 2016, Uber had a U.S. executive team that was approximately 95 percent White or Asian, while Black and Hispanic executives each accounted for only 1.5 percent. Building off that low baseline, five years later Uber has nearly doubled the number of Black executives at the company, while nearly tripling the number of Hispanic executives.
 
With all of that said, Uber frequently changes the number of people it counts as executives (the top number for each EEO-1 chart), a fact that clouds much of this data. 


Globally, Uber self-reports the following data for director level positions and above. 


A similar story emerges after looking at Uber’s lower and middle management levels in the U.S, which were 92 percent White or Asian in 2016.

In terms of its total U.S. workforce, since 2016 Uber has nearly doubled the number of Black workers at the company, while more than doubling the number of Hispanic workers. At the same time, women now make up 39.7% of the workforce, a 10.2 percent rise over 2016 (much of that gain came last year, when Uber added more than 1,000 new corporate positions and raised the overall representation of women by almost five percent).

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