A day after a former Uber site reliability engineer (SRE) Susan Fowler Rigetti posted a detailed narrative about unwanted sexual advances from her manager and a lackluster response from Uber’s human resources department, prompting Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick to call for an investigation, Kalanick today provided employees with more detail about the investigation and informed them that it will release its first diversity report in the next few months.
Publicly traded technology companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Pandora, Twitter, and Yahoo have issued diversity reports, whereas Uber, for the moment, is privately owned. So the move will be notable in that regard. But the move will also be important because it will provide an objective information about the race and gender makeup of the most valuable private company in the world.
In her blog post Fowler Rigetti pointed to a gender balance issue, noting that in her year at Uber, “out of over 150 engineers in the SRE teams, only 3 percent were women,” so official numbers with which to observe trends will be relevant following the scandal coming out of Fowler Rigetti’s blog post.
In today’s email to employees Kalanick wrote that 15.1 percent of Uber’s engineers, product managers, and scientists are women, adding that that figure is at 10 percent at Twitter, 17 percent at Facebook, and 18 percent at Google.
Here’s the complete memo that Kalanick sent out:
It’s been a tough 24 hours. I know the company is hurting, and understand everyone has been waiting for more information on where things stand and what actions we are going to take.
First, Eric Holder, former US Attorney General under President Obama, and Tammy Albarran — both partners at the leading law firm Covington & Burling — will conduct an independent review into the specific issues relating to the work place environment raised by Susan Fowler, as well as diversity and inclusion at Uber more broadly. Joining them will be Arianna Huffington, who sits on Uber’s board, Liane Hornsey, our recently hired Chief Human Resources Officer, and Angela Padilla, our Associate General Counsel. I expect them to conduct this review in short order.
Second, Arianna is flying out to join me and Liane at our all hands meeting tomorrow to discuss what’s happened and next steps. Arianna and Liane will also be doing smaller group and one-on-one listening sessions to get your feedback directly.
Third, there have been many questions about the gender diversity of Uber’s technology teams. If you look across our engineering, product management, and scientist roles, 15.1% of employees are women and this has not changed substantively in the last year. As points of reference, Facebook is at 17%, Google at 18% and Twitter is at 10%. Liane and I will be working to publish a broader diversity report for the company in the coming months.
I believe in creating a workplace where a deep sense of justice underpins everything we do. Every Uber employee should be proud of the culture we have and what we will build together over time. What is driving me through all this is a determination that we take what’s happened as an opportunity to heal wounds of the past and set a new standard for justice in the workplace. It is my number one priority that we come through this a better organization, where we live our values and fight for and support those who experience injustice.
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