Uber vows to fix sexist workplace culture and diversity issues

Uber recently released its first employee diversity report following a string of scandals and allegations of sexism and sexual harassment. The Oakland-based ride-hailing company is now rethinking its approach to hiring amid ongoing criticism of its toxic workplace culture.

The report revealed that women occupy only 15 percent of Uber’s technical positions. The company has slightly fewer women filling such jobs than other Silicon Valley giants such as Airbnb, Facebook and Google. Although Uber has more African American employees, its overall employee makeup is similar to its peers — mostly male, white and Asian.

“This report is a first step in showing that diversity and inclusion is a priority at Uber,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick wrote in a statement. “I know that we have been too slow in publishing our numbers — and that the best way to demonstrate our commitment to change is through transparency.”

Although Uber is not the only tech company lacking gender diversity, it has been under scrutiny after complaints about how its managers treat women emerged. In a blog post, former Uber software engineer Susan Fowler accused the company of protecting a boss who propositioned her for sex. She also said Uber discriminated against women employees in the technical department. Both the sexual harassment complaints and Uber’s overall workplace culture are now being investigated at the company’s request.

Liane Hornsey, Uber’s senior vice president of HR, acknowledged that the company’s diversity makeup needs to improve. She told reporters Uber is working to change its approach to recruiting and highlighted the progress already underway to diversify its workforce.

Besides releasing the diversity report, Uber revised the language of 1,500 job descriptions. The company is also planning to hold job interview training for women in tech. It remains to be seen whether the company’s efforts to change its image pay off.

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