It's rare to see a tech company report higher than a ten percent black employee population, but that's what Atlanta-based Rubicon Global just did. The trash and recycling company, which has raised $220 million in venture funding, touts some above-average representation of black employees, reporting 25 percent of its employee base is black.
Rubicon Global does not haul trash itself, but rather connects businesses with local waste collection services through an online bidding process, which is designed to help the businesses save money. Businesses using Rubicon include 7-Eleven, The Salvation Army and Sweetgreen. In management roles and higher, Rubicon is 79 percent white, 9 percent Asian, 7 percent black, 4 percent Latinx and 1 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.
Still, Rubicon employs a large percentage of white people. Rubicon employs 287 people and 60 percent of those are white. Rubicon is just 3 percent Latinx, 10 percent Asian, 0.5 percent American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.5 percent Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander and 1 percent two or more races. Gender-wise, Rubicon is 60 percent male and 40 percent female, with 30 percent of the female employees in leadership roles.
I wondered if the higher-than-average representation of black employees had anything to do with the demographics of the general population in Atlanta. So I took a look at some census data. Atlanta's population is 54 percent black, 38 percent white, 5.2 percent Latinx, 3.1 percent Asian, 0.2 percent American Indian or Alaska Native, 0 percent Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander and 2 percent two or more races, according to the 2010 census.
While Atlanta's overall demographics might explain the small number of Latinx, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and those of two or more races, it doesn't quite explain why there are so many white people at the company. It would make more sense for there to be a higher number of black people at Rubicon and a smaller number of white people. Instead, Rubicon employs a disproportionate number of white people in relation to the racial makeup of Atlanta.
The company says its recruiting strategy is nationwide and that many people have relocated to join the Atlanta-based company. Still, the company also employs some local Atlanta talent.
"Atlanta has provided an amazing platform to recruit some of the best talent in America, with employees of all backgrounds and ethnicities joining our team," Kerri Faber, VP Human Resources at Rubicon Global, said in a statement to TechCrunch.
Moving forward, Rubicon plans to refocus its recruiting strategy by posting job opportunities on diversity-specific job boards, attending women in technology recruiting events and creating mentorship programs.
"At Rubicon, we celebrate our team members and are committed to creating an increasingly diverse environment," Rubicon CEO Nate Morris said in a statement to TechCrunch. "We've made great progress to date, but we have work to do."