Uber’s first diversity report is not the worst thing ever – TechCrunch (Mar 28, 2017)
TechCrunch wasn’t the only publication to go with a headline like this, and it makes sense: Uber’s diversity report in many ways mirrors those from other big companies in the tech industry, and doesn’t appear noticeably worse on several of the big metrics. Indeed, if you were reading the report itself including the commentary about the various efforts Uber is engaged in, you’d get the impression that Uber was a forward-looking, tolerant, diverse, and vibrant place for people of all backgrounds to work. And that’s the problem with these reports – they say nothing about what it’s actually like to work at the company if you’re in one of the underrepresented groups, and we know from recent news that Uber can actually be pretty awful if you’re a woman, especially in a technical role. So even though Uber comes off not much worse than other big tech companies from the report alone, that shouldn’t be all that reassuring. Since this is the first of these reports, we also have zero data about how things have changed in the past year, and whether they’ve got better or even worse, something some past female employees have suggested. But numbers alone don’t tell the story, and that’s why the investigation – flawed though it is – is critical for evaluating and hopefully changing the other aspects of Uber’s culture as regards diversity which this report says nothing about.
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