What’s stopping Uber from hiring a diverse workforce?

Uber Technologies faces problems while trying to recruit more women and people of colour at the company, according to a recent news published on Bloomberg. Members of the recruiting team were denied access to information about the company’s diversity makeup, several people familiar with Uber’s hiring apparatus told Bloomberg.

To make Uber a company with a diverse workforce, the recruiting arm has assigned some members to focus on hiring accordingly. This initiative has received enthusiastic endorsements from Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO. But the team found it difficult to do its job without demographic data, which is a common way to identify a company’s weaknesses and set hiring targets, people told Bloomberg.

Like many of its Silicon Valley cohorts, Uber is an obsessively data-driven company, where recruiters log every interaction with candidates and scour their social media profiles. The diversity data limitation was especially vexing because other technology companies of its size release annual diversity reports to the public.

Uber’s demographic composition has been a topic of interest for people outside the recruiting department, too. Various females software engineers have requested such data for years and were told the human resources department didn’t track it. Some of them began calculating it on their own in an attempt to determine which managers seemed friendliest to women, said a formal employee.

Apart from lack of data, the company’s recruitment efforts stumbled on the back of dearth of focus, funding and leadership. The company has also seen the exit of almost half a dozen Uber recruiters over the past eighteen months. A lackadaisical attitude when it came to diversity due to the needs to hire quickly has been attributed by several of those people.

Liane Hornsey, Uber’s senior vice president of HR, said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that she’s working to clean up Uber’s cultural problems, including its approach to recruiting.

Hornsey, who joined the company this year, said Uber revised 1,500 job descriptions to remove unconscious bias from the language, will hold job interview training for women in tech and is ensuring its panel of interviewers is diverse. Uber plans to release a diversity report for the first times next week.

“We’re spending a good deal of time reflecting on what will lead to true diversity and inclusion,” Hornsey wrote in an email. “Clearly, this matters a lot to all of us and must underpin everything we do- it’s the foundation of positive cultural change.”


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