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Uber Targeted for Diversity Issues With a Reported $2.2 Billion in Losses; WMFDP Co-Founder Talks Solutions

Uber’s diversity numbers, published for the first time, reflect the overall disparity in diversity present throughout the tech industry, and the PR and economic backlash.

(Portland, OR), April 17, 2017—A broad view of Uber’s progress, combined with news of its deal to exit the Chinese market, reveals a loss of over $2.2 billion in the first nine months of 2016, according to a Bloomberg report.(1) The reasons for this are varied, while negative publicity continues to be a serious problem for the ridesharing giant.

Uber’s just-published diversity numbers reveal that out of 12,000 employees, fewer than 40 percent are women. Black and Hispanic employees make up 15 percent, while white and Asian employees constitute 80 percent. Further illustrating this trend, Google, in 2016, had a workforce of about 62,000, comprising 31 percent female, 5 percent black or Hispanic, and 90 percent white or Asian.(2)

“The problem of diversity in tech is well-known, and one significant cause of this is the rate of expansion of some of these companies,” said author and co-founder of White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP), Bill Proudman. “Many market disruptors can have an inability or unwillingness to look inward at their own cultural dilemmas—and this can backfire badly, as has been the case with Uber.”

Uber has been plagued by one PR concern after another—with its diversity and inclusion problems at the forefront.

In a highly-publicized February, 2017 blog post, former Uber engineer Susan J. Fowler wrote in detail about her experiences with sexual harassment and Uber’s HR Department’s mishandling of the situation,(4) while a spat between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and an Uber driver, which was caught on video, served to illustrate an indifference of upper management towards the thousands of men and women doing the driving.(5)

Proudman explained that there continues to be more and more evidence of the correlation between a vibrant culture of diversity and economic prosperity. The flipside is the financial consequences of narrow-mindedness and unconscious bias.

One example of adverse financial consequences is a World Bank report quantifying the costs of workforce discrimination, increased health costs and anti-LGBTQ laws, which can cost a nation up to 1 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). Globally, a conservative estimate of this impact amounts to over $400 billion—enough to eliminate extreme poverty planet-wide.(6)

“Globallly we see on one side continued division and strife, with the corporate world in no way immune,” Proudman explained. “On the positive end, we have embracive diversity,

collaborative thinking and multicultural innovation—the fruits of which include economic prosperity. Demands for the tech industry to change from within, rather than be part of the problem, will only continue to ramp up.”

About White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP):

White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP) is a diversity and leadership development firm founded in 1996 by Bill Proudman, Michael Welp, Ph.D., and JoAnn Morris in Portland, Oregon. WMFDP takes an unorthodox approach towards eradicating bias and discrimination in the workplace. Its client list includes Alaska Airlines, Dell, Lockheed Martin, Northwestern Mutual, Chevron Drilling & Completions, The Nature Conservancy, Mass Mutual, and others. The majority of C-level executives are white and male, and they are frequently omitted from a vital role in diversity and equality. Proudman and Welp observed that these critical subjects were not being taken to the doorstep of these leaders—all to the detriment of struggling minorities and the economy as a whole. With a background that includes extensive field work in post-Apartheid South Africa in the early 1990s, Proudman and Welp have dedicated the last two decades to educating and engaging leaders of any race, color, gender or orientation. Welp is the author of the book, Four Days to Change. With an insightful foreword by Proudman, the book chronicles the journey from rural South Africa to the boardrooms of America—all to lay the groundwork of a global paradigm shift.

1. Newcomer, Eric. “Uber’s Loss Exceeds $800 Million in Third Quarter on $1.7 Billion in Net Revenue.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 19 Dec. 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

2. Bhuiyan, Johana. “Uber Has Published Its Much Sought after Diversity Numbers for the First Time.” Recode. Recode, 28 Mar. 2017. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

3. Connor, Michael. “Tech Still Doesn’t Get Diversity. Here’s How to Fix It.” Wired. Conde Nast, 08 Feb. 2017. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

4. “Reflecting on One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber.” Susan J. Fowler. 19 Feb. 2017. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

5. “Uber CEO Caught on Camera Arguing With Driver Over Prices.” NBCNews.com. NBCUniversal News Group. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

6. Cianciotto, Jason. “When Discrimination Costs $400 Billion Annually.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 23 Dec. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

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