×

If he takes the Uber job, Expedia CEO will walk into a much less diverse company

  • Expedia has a better record on gender parity than Uber.
  • Khosrowshahi's ability to build up a roster of women in leadership could become particularly critical to Uber.

Arianna Huffington recently spoke with CNBC about the importance of self-care.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Arianna Huffington recently spoke with CNBC about the importance of self-care.

We still don't know if Dara Khosrowshahi will accept the job of Uber's boss — leading a company mired in human resources issues.

If he does, the Iranian immigrant will walk into a company that's much less diverse than his current one, Expedia.

Expedia, which includes brands like Hotels.com, Orbitz, Trivago, Travelocity, Hotwire and CarRentals.com, has been touting its efforts on pay parity and women in leadership for several years.

Expedia's U.S. workforce is 51 percent women and 49 percent men, according to data released in June of last year. That's compared to Uber's U.S. business, where 32.9 percent of workers are women, and 67.1 percent are men.

Neither company fares nearly as well when it comes to technology workers, but Expedia still has the lead.

Khosrowshahi's ability to build up a roster of women in leadership could become particularly critical to Uber, a company where sexual harassment allegations led to a scathing workplace culture investigation, and ultimately, a massive exodus of top employees. It's something that board members like Arianna Huffington have said Uber must fix urgently.

To be sure, there are many different ways to measure progress in terms of diversity and inclusion — including the intersection of race and gender, the stratification of roles and policies like family leave. Even Google — a "top company for women technologists"— has struggled to strike a balance when it comes to how much to emphasize gender equity in hiring and pay.

Khosrowshahi has very favorable reviews on anonymous employer review site Glassdoor, with a "creme de la creme" 93 percent approval rating. But on InHerSight, a similar, smaller platform that focuses on opportunities for women, Expedia doesn't have the same glowing reviews. One user wrote (edited):

The CEO Dara also made it a leadership-down sponsored initiative to try to promote more women to director level and higher roles ... which was great in theory, however, many male VPs still treat the company as a boys' club. A few examples of the boys' club: It was expected as a female that if my VP walked into the kitchen while I was in the kitchen that I would offer to step aside for him to get his coffee, because his time is more important than mine; or, offer to take his coffee mug and get his coffee and hand deliver it to where ever his next meeting would be. I also consider it a boys' club because in exec prep meetings they would often expect the females participating in the meeting to order and pick up dinner for the entire team while our male direct reports stayed to participate.

Expedia was not immediately available to comment on that review.

Expedia subsidiary Egencia has admitted that the company still sees inclusion programs as in the "early stages." For instance, Melissa Hannigan, global director of talent acquisition for Egencia, said earlier this year that the company has been testing blind resume reviews and has been updating job postings.

"What we found is that many job adverts have a masculine bias to them. Words like 'manage' attract more male candidates whereas 'lead' attracts more females. Just like with blind resumes, we tested this across certain areas of the business and saw positive results and have now rolled it out company-wide," Hannigan said in a statement.