Study on Lyft, Uber Reveals High Turnover Rates, Wage Gaps

Elder drivers are less likely to make as much as their younger counterparts, and employee turnover at the most popular ride-hailing companies remains high.

It’s no secret that some Uber drivers have been upset with the company’s handling of employee concerns – many of them tried to stage a nationwide protest to combat low wages just a few weeks ago. Now, an independent survey has substantiated some of their claims, finding that Lyft and Uber drivers can be subject to increasingly high turnover rates and dismal wages.

A report from SherpaShare, a Menlo Park-based company that helps drivers keep track of their wages, revealed a number of trends that reflect poorly on ride-sharing companies.

The study, which included 963 participants, found that older drivers make substantially less – about 20 percent on average -- than their younger counterparts. It also noted that the earning trend only increases with the amount of hours driven, with drivers over the age of 55 earning about 35 percent less when driving between 26 and 30 hours per week.

The study hypothesized that older drivers may be less likely to strategize and research tips and tricks to increase their rates, among other possible causes.

“Whatever (combination of factors, most likely) it is, the trend in our survey data is clear - there’s a gap in earnings between seniors and the rest of the driving population,” the study concluded.

Turnover rates, which are often used as an indicator of job dissatisfaction, was notably high for Uber, Lyft, and comparable companies, the study also found. About 65 percent of active drivers had been driving for less than six months, and 18 percent had been driving for less than two months.

“Consistant with our results from last year, it’s clear that ridesharing, in general, is a business with a constantly-refreshing workforce,” said the report.

As with previous studies, this latest survey also found that women are less likely to work for ride-hailing companies. Women drivers comprised fewer than 20 percent of survey respondents, and most of them reported working fewer hours than men, and thus made less money.

Nearly all (90 percent) of survey respondents worked for either Uber, Lyft or both. In general, people who worked 21 to 25 hours a week collected $1,376 monthly before deductions for car maintenance and gas, while those who worked more than 40 hours earned a little less than $3,000 before deductions.

“In the brave new world of ridesharing, there has long been a gap between what the companies say happens, what the drivers feel or think happens, and what actually happens,” SherpaShare concluded in a previous study.

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