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Uber is losing so many employees that executives had to address questions about the problem at recent all-hands meetings

  • Exclusive internal figures show Uber’s employee turnover has climbed recently.
  • The pandemic is spurring many workers to move jobs, but Uber execs have had to address the problem.
  • Some Uber staff blame uninspiring leadership. Others say rivals and startups are luring talent away.

Uber is struggling to recruit enough drivers, but the company has other workforce problems to worry about. New internal figures show full-time employees have been leaving at a concerning pace.

In recent weeks, Uber executives including human resources chief Nikki Krishnamurthy have had to answer employee questions about the company’s elevated turnover rate. A number of executives and managers have left, including Haider Sabri, head of driver engineering at

Uber Eats
, Mads Johnsen, who led Uber’s business-focused products, and others at the director level and above.

The trend goes beyond management. In June, Uber’s overall attrition rate was about 20%, according to figures shared with Insider. Within Eats specifically, the figure was slightly higher. Those rates are well above the usual level in the teens, people familiar with the figures say. They asked not to be identified as they were discussing sensitive internal data. 

Companies typically calculate these attrition rates by dividing the number of employees who have left over a period by overall head count, then annualizing it across 12 months. Uber’s June attrition rate means that over the course of the next year a fifth of its workforce will leave if recent trends continue. Uber declined to comment. 

This is a critical time for the company, which is trying to rebuild after the pandemic slowed its ride-hailing service. While Uber’s food-delivery operation has been strong, many analysts are not expecting the rides business to fully recover for some time. The stock is down 7% this year, while the Nasdaq Composite index is up 15%.

The worry with a high attrition rate, said Uber employees and HR specialists, is that the company could lose key talent, causing leaders to spend more energy hiring replacements rather than focusing on the business. An internal email from June announcing new roles for two HR employees said they would be “hyper-focused on recruiting and attrition.” Uber has hired more than 200 senior managers in the past six months, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Current and former Uber employees differ on why turnover is rising so much. Some chalk it up to longtime colleagues pursuing fresh opportunities. With startup funding plentiful and the pandemic giving people new perspective, some said it’s a good time to launch a company. And across the broader economy, more and more workers are quitting.

Others said it reflects Uber’s current culture and the leadership of CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, which, though far less tumultuous than the Travis Kalanick days, can also be less inspiring. 

One Uber HR employee noted that other companies are ramping up recruiting. Indeed, Uber rivals are on hiring sprees. Gopuff recently picked a top Uber Eats executive Jon Feldman to help lead delivery strategy. In June, Instacart hired Laura Jones, an Uber marketing executive, to serve as its new VP of brand and marketing.

Uber’s management has sent conflicting messages about the issue, according to some employees. In April, when the company announced its back-to-office policy, Krishnamurthy said internally that some staff might leave due to a requirement to be in the office three days a week. And she was OK with that. 

A few months later the company redrew its plans to be more flexible to those who prefer to work remotely. Some employees said they believe that was driven by higher-than-expected turnover.

Staff have raised these issues in recent company all-hands meetings. About two weeks ago, Krishnamurthy addressed the point specifically, acknowledging that attrition was higher than senior management wanted it to be. But she also said the problem wasn’t specific to Uber and cited macro-economic changes such as the pandemic.

Another executive, Uber Eats executive Sarfraz Maredia, was asked to specifically address why turnover was particularly high at Uber Eats during the same all-hands meeting. His response was that, while he’d regret losing team members, the next day he and others would move on.

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