Uber employees working on self-driving cars feel their cars are safer but their careers are stuck, according to leaked employee survey

Business Insider/Danielle Muoio
  • Every six months, Uber conducts an employee survey.
  • Business Insider has seen the results of the latest survey for the 1,100-employee self-driving car unit released to employees earlier this week.
  • Most employees praised the unit’s renewed focus on safety as the company puts its cars back on the public road for testing this week in Pittsburgh, after a fatal accident in 2018 benched the cars for most of the year.
  • But they also complained of being stressed and feeling like they had no future there.

Uber is sending its self-driving cars back on the public road this week in Pittsburgh, with a whole new set of revamped safety procedures and a lot of public promises to further fix its safety culture after one of their autonomous cars killed a pedestrian back in March.

Last month, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi responded to Business Insider’s investigation into that fatal accident by telling employees at an all-hands meeting, “We have screwed up,” as Business Insider was first to report.

So, it may comfort you to know that as Uber’s self-driving cars hit the streets again, employees internally are feeling good about their company’s current commitment to safety and their own ability to build a safer car, according to a leaked employee culture survey seen by Business Insider.


Read more:
Uber employees describe a stressful and ‘ridiculous’ culture at the self-driving car unit under its current leader Eric Meyhofer

In October, 91% of employees at the unit, known internally as the Advanced Technologies Group or ATG, took the survey, according an email sent to the troops by the head of the division, Eric Meyhofer seen by Business Insider.

Their biggest praise about ATG’s culture was about safety. Employees were asked how much they agree or disagree with this statement: “I believe ATG values safety when it comes to the development of self driving technology” and 83% of them indicated they agreed. 14% of them were neutral, neither agreeing or disagreeing, which means only 3% disagreed. That was the highest scoring response in the survey, Meyhofer discussed in his email.

82% also agreed with the statement “I feel empowered to report safety concerns and/or suggestions without fear of retaliation” with 15% neutral, leaving 3% who disagreed.

The other very positive topic of feedback involved trust, with 82% agreeing with “I trust my team” (16% neutral). 80% also said they trusted their managers, with 16% neutral. Meyhofer said that trust was up 4% compared to the previous six-month survey.

We’ve heard ongoing tales of how political, backstabbing, and dysfunctional this unit is from a growing list of employees and former employees, so it’s good to know that most people who work there aren’t feeling that way about their own teams and supervisors.

Not that employees are delirious. The overall satisfaction score was 70%, with 26% neutral. Meyhofer also indicated that this was 1% lower than overall satisfaction at Uber’s main division, the one that hosts its active commercial businesses like ridesharing and Uber Eats.

There were several red flags about ATG’s culture in the survey as well. The scores on questions concerning how well people feel supported to do their jobs were abysmal. When asked, “Most Uber wide systems and processes help me get work done effectively,” only 43% of people agreed.

And only about half of employees reported feeling like they had growth opportunities at the company.

Most telling of all was the question about stress. Employees who felt like they were doing a good job managing work stress were down by 6%, although Meyhofer didn’t share the specific number.

Here’s a rundown of the ATG employee survey results we saw, not all the numbers were shared:

  • 91% participation of ATG’s 1,100 employees.
  • Overall satisfaction 70% positive, 26% neutral
  • “I believe ATG values safety when it comes to the development of self driving technology”: 83% positive, 14% neutral.
  • “I feel empowered to report safety concerns and/or suggestions without fear of retaliation”: 82% positive, 15% neutral.
  • “I feel good about Uber’s mission”: 81% positive
  • “I feel good about Ubers company performance”: 82% positive
  • Uber is in a position to succeed: % not shared but positive responses were up 10%
  • “I trust my team”: 82% positive, 16% neutral
  • “I trust my manager”: 80% favourable, 16% neutral
  • “Most Uber-wide systems and processes help me get work done effectively”: 43% positive
  • “I have good opportunities for professional growth”: 51% positive, 38% neutral
  • “I am able to manage my work stress in a healthy way”: positive responses were down by 6% over the previous survey.

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