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Protocol | Workplace

Uber has more Black employees, but still only 3.8% in leadership roles

Uber's latest diversity report showed progress in the representation of Black people at the company.

​An Uber sign on a building

Last year, after committing to being an anti-racist company, Uber reported that its Black employee base decreased from 9.3% in 2019 to 7.5%.

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty

Diversity report season is upon us. Uber, which saw a decrease in its overall Black population last year, has made up for the loss.

Last year, after committing to being an anti-racist company, Uber reported that its Black employee base decreased from 9.3% in 2019 to 7.5%. Uber attributed the loss in Black representation to pandemic-related layoffs. This year, as of March 2021, Uber is 10.3% Black.

But that's not the full picture. Uber has the highest amount of Black representation (20%) in operations roles (20%) and support roles (37.8%). Those in operations roles work on Uber's core ride-hailing service, food delivery, business development and other organizations. The support roles are more customer-service oriented.

At the leadership level, Uber is 3.8% Black and 5.2% Hispanic. Representation of Black and Latinx employees in tech leadership roles, however, is at 0% for both groups. By 2025, Uber plans to double the representation of Black people in leadership roles.

"We know that progress takes time, but it's not the lack of solutions that slows us down; companies struggle to make progress when they don't have the courage to stay committed and stand up against racism and White supremacy behaviors," Uber Chief Diversity Officer Bo Young Lee wrote in the report. [...] The work is never done. I trust that if we stay dedicated, change will happen."

Uber's diversity report also details a variety of intersectional data. Here are a few highlights:

  • White men make up 25.9% of Uber's overall workforce, but 35.4% of the leadership team in the U.S.
  • White women make up 16.3% of Uber's overall workforce in the U.S., but 20.8% of the company's leadership team.
  • Black women make up 6.5% of Uber's overall workforce in the U.S. Uber has the highest representation of Black women (13.6%) in its operations department.
  • Asian women represent 14% of Uber's tech workforce in the U.S., and 10.5% of leadership in tech roles.

Uber does not include data around rideshare and delivery drivers. However, studies have shown that gig workers in San Francisco are mostly people of color. That has led to tension between Uber, and workers and labor advocates.

Yesterday, rideshare drivers across the country went on strike and protested low wages and labor practices. About 50 drivers and supporters rallied outside an Uber office in San Francisco to advocate for their rights.

Dr. Veena Dubal, a professor of law at the University of California Hastings, expressed her frustration with Uber and other gig economy companies at the rally.

"I am so tired of a majority racial minority workforce being paid less than the minimum wage, not getting health insurance, not getting overtime, not getting worker's compensation when they die for this company on the streets," she said.

A former Uber employee, Eddy Hernandez, told the crowd he quit his job "because fuck Uber." He added, "Fuck a company that would pit workers against another set of workers."

Uber, along with companies such as Lyft, DoorDash and others, is of the mindset that rideshare drivers and delivery workers are not employees. Instead, these companies consider them to be independent contractors. In California, Uber and others spent $224 million to pass legislation that would allow them to legally classify drivers as independent contractors.

Despite that distinction, Uber has spoken out about creating pathways to employment for gig workers. In its diversity report, Uber said it hopes to double the pipeline of people who want to pursue corporate or other types of opportunities within Uber by 2025.


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