New Uber diversity report encouraging, but tech industry still struggles

Uber is making progress towards greater diversity and inclusion, while efforts elsewhere are stalling as ‘diversity fatigue’ creeps in.

New Uber diversity report encouraging, but tech industry still struggles
Magdalena Petrova

Just a few short months after hiring Bo Young Lee as chief diversity officer, Uber has released its second diversity report. This report is different than the EEO-1 report required by the federal government, the results of which Uber released in December 2017.

This latest report used an in-house survey, plus race and gender data from Workday, Megan Rose Dickey reports in this TechCrunch article. Uber says 99 percent of its workforce self-identified in response to the gender question, while 75 percent responded to the race question.

Overall, the report shows slight progress in some areas and backsliding in others: Though Uber hasn’t set targets for diversity,the percentage of women in Uber’s workforce has increased from 36.1 percent to 38 percent. Latinx representation also increased from 5.6 percent to 6.1 percent. However, black representation has decreased. Of those who opted into the survey, 15 percent self-identified as LGBTQ+.

Uber also overhauled its recruiting and hiring practices, revamped the language in job descriptions, and has introduced a diversity and inclusion training program called “Why Diversity Matters,” as well as offering employee resource groups and conducting pay equity reviews.

‘Diversity fatigue’ creeps into tech industry

These are all best practices for diversity and inclusion, and though progress is slight, it’s encouraging, especially as a new report from Atlassian shows that “diversity fatigue” is starting to creep into the tech industry as a whole and adoption of company-wide diversity initiatives remains flat.

The Atlassian survey, conducted in January 2018 of 1,500 tech workers in the U.S. and 400 in Silicon Valley, finds that while 80 percent of respondents believe diversity and inclusion is important, there’s been a 50 percent decline in individual participation in diversity and inclusion initiatives year over year. Yikes. And while 40 percent of respondents believe their company’s inclusion of people from underrepresented groups “needs no improvement,” only 30 percent of people from those underrepresented groups “have representation, retention and a sense of belonging.”

Clearly, there’s more work to do, and not just at Uber. As the Atlassian survey succinctly puts it, “…we know we’re failing, but we’re not willing to do the hard work to change.”

Related staffing and workplace diversity articles:

NEW! Download the Spring 2018 digital edition of CIO magazine