Internal data shows a highly elevated attrition rate at Uber, and the company’s executives are scrambling to fix the problem. There is no single factor explaining the massive turnover. Uber staff have lamented weak leadership, while others point to the competition snatching up talent.

Hiring drivers, high turnover a struggle within Uber

Reports suggest that Uber is finding it hard to recruit drivers, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg to its workforce issues. Even full-time employees and executives are leaving at a worrying pace.

For instance, Uber Eats’ head of driver engineering Haider Sabri and business products head Mads Johnsen, and several other director-level executives have parted ways with the company. 

However, what is more alarming is that the overall employee attrition rate at Uber has hit an unprecedented high. June figures reveal a nearly 20% turnover rate. What worries executives most is that more employees within Uber Eats are leaving.

If this turnover rate is annualized over 12 months, this would mean that one-fifth of its total workforce will have left the company next year. For its part, Uber has remained mum when pressed by reporters.

Renewed focus on recruitment and retention

As the company tries to rebuild following the pandemic, Uber’s leadership has emphasized hiring and retention as their top priorities. Building back is critical for the company, whose ride-hailing services found little business during the pandemic.

While a strong performance from Uber Eats offset this, its food delivery service, the company’s ride service might struggle with recovery. Market watchers have observed that the stock has dipped 7% as the Nasdaq surges by 15%.

That Uber is losing so many employees is a significant concern to the company. It might lose vital talent and increase spending for replacements and talent development rather than actual business operations. Hence, as an internal email dated June suggests, the company is hiring HR employees whose sole task is to be “hyper-focused on recruiting and attrition.” They have also ramped up their managerial pool within the last six months, hiring over 200 senior managers.

How do employees explain the massive turnover? Previous and current employees have differing opinions. Some mentioned that others are seeking greener and fresher pastures. With the pandemic transforming perspectives, there is excellent funding potential for launching startups. 

Still, some believe that blame lies squarely with lackluster leadership under CEO Hara Khosrowshahi and company culture. Moreover, Uber’s rivals have been hiring aggressively. For instance, Gopuff hired former Eats executive Jon Feldman while Instacart snatched former marketing executive Laura Jones to be VP of brand and marketing.

As a result of these issues, Uber has made strides to get employees fully involved in all-hands meetings. At the end of the day, while acknowledging that turnover is high, Uber Eats executive Sarfraz Maredia said that the problem was not exclusive to Uber alone. Many companies are also struggling with turnover due to the pandemic. The only way is to pick themselves up the next day and move on.