Lyft released its first diversity report on Thursday, in keeping with its promise to do so in the White House Tech Inclusion Pledge launched by the Obama administration last year. Overall, the report paints a picture of a fairly typical tech company, with men making up a substantial majority of technical and leadership roles and a predominantly white and Asian workforce.
In total, 63 percent of Lyft employees are white and 19 percent are Asian, with black and Hispanic (identified in the report as Latinx) employees making up 6 and 7 percent of its workforce, respectively. At higher levels, the diversity decreases, with the report showing that Lyft’s leadership is 70 percent white, 18 percent Asian, 5 percent Latinx, and just 1 percent black. The ridesharing company’s tech team is 51 percent white, 38 percent Asian, 4 percent Latinx and 2 percent black. In tech leadership, just 4 percent of Lyft’s employees are Latinx and none are black.
Lyft’s overall gender composition is uncommonly balanced, with 42 percent of its employees and 36 percent of leaders identifying as female—but on the tech side, women make up only 18 percent of employees and 13 percent of leaders. The report does not address how many employees identify as LGBTQ or people with disabilities, nor does it provide an intersectional analysis of race and gender.
So how does Lyft compare to its larger rival? Comparing against Uber’s first diversity report, which it released in March, we see that Lyft is doing slightly better on gender equality but comparably or slightly worse when it comes racial diversity. Women make up only 36 percent of Uber employees and 22 percent of its leadership; the gender balance of Uber’s tech leadership (89 percent male) is comparable to Lyft’s. While Uber’s workforce (which is much larger than Lyft’s) is slightly more racially diverse, with black employees accounting for 9 percent, Hispanic employees 5.6 percent, and employees who identify as multi-racial 4.3 percent. Uber’s technical staff, however, is almost exclusively white (49 percent) and Asian (48 percent), with very few underrepresented minorities.
In a blog post announcing the release of the report, Lyft acknowledges that they still “have a lot of work to do” but adds that this work is ongoing:
Last year, we hired Tariq Meyers to lead our Inclusion and Diversity efforts. We’ve been working with inclusion and diversity strategy firm Paradigm to identify opportunities for positive change. We’re investing in more programs and taking stronger actions. The actions we’re taking come from every facet and level of the business. Earlier this year, we implemented a Gender Identity & Affirmation policy that gives team members the management and medical support they need to express themselves in the way that works for them.
We’re creating partnerships to broaden our recruiting pipeline, and updating our interview processes. In addition to the blind interview grading for software engineer candidates that we implemented over a year ago, we’re training 100% of our managers on how to combat unconscious bias in the interview process, as well as in their day-to-day responsibilities.
Neither Lyft nor Uber counts the drivers who use their gig platforms to work in their diversity reports, as they do not consider them employees.