Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Upwork

Our vision for diversity, inclusion and belonging is dignity, purpose, community and fairness at the center of every working moment.

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What our employees say
"I knew I belonged when I interviewed with my future manager and felt more seen in the workplace than I have in any previous time in my career. I knew that Upwork was different, and would value me for my individual strengths, rather than looking to constrain my contributions to a specific role or title. Since joining the company I've felt this each and every day, and couldn't be more grateful to be part of this truly special company."

Upwork Employee

Diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs) is who Upwork is

Strategic Investment

We can't fulfill our company mission to create economic opportunities so people have better lives without a dedicated strategic investment in diversity, inclusion, and belonging, both within our corporate teams, and on the Upwork platform.

Systems-Based Approach

Upwork is a complex organization and our team members come from, and go home to, a much bigger world. Accordingly, we take a systems-based approach to diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

Sustainable Institutional Change

We approach the work on our inclusion strategy as specific, not singular. We resist the urge to recycle popular practices. We balance impact with practicality.

Our Approach: Inclusive Company Culture

Cultivating an inclusive company culture requires much more than a few gestures. Good intentions and passion aren’t enough. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) efforts warrant the same strategic focus, rigor, and discipline as top-line business objectives.

Some companies get stuck on the numbers. And while having quantifiable goals is important, it’s not sufficient if you don’t know what it takes to achieve those goals. It’s important to have a shared understanding of what diversity, inclusion, and belonging mean, and how they connect, to catalyze sustainable change. At Upwork we approach belonging as a feeling, inclusion as a practice, and diversity as an outcome.

Belonging is a feeling.
Inclusion is a practice.
Diversity is an outcome.
Belonging is a feeling.
Inclusion is a practice.
Diversity is an outcome.

Belonging is the extent to which team members are able to bring their whole selves to work without having to sacrifice meaningful aspects of their identity. At Upwork we assess belonging along three main dimensions: team sentiment, team balance, and shared community.

Team Balance

Are team members at risk of social isolation?

Team Sentiment

Do managers cultivate fit at the team level?

Shared Community

Are team members with shared social identities able to connect with each other?

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Inclusion is the set of decisions that determine who is ultimately successful in our organization. We examine decision-making at both the micro and macro levels.

Micro Inclusion

Are we methodical in how we approach, check, and balance the daily opportunities we give to team members?

Macro Inclusion

Are the major decisions we make fair and equitable at each stage of our team member experience?

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Belonging and inclusion are leading indicators, whereas diversity is a lagging indicator - the outcome of our practices and our decisions.

To understand where we are in terms of our company diversity, we invite employees to share multiple aspects of their identities, including gender identity, generation, race/ethnicity, caregiver status, sexual orientation, and military service. These data are important inputs to our DIBs strategy, enabling our team to build supports, education, and benefits to serve all of our team members more effectively.

Diversity graphic

Upwork Belonging Communities

UBCs create spaces that center the professional needs and goals of all Upwork employees who identify as LGBTQIA+, Black, Hispanic/Latino/a/x/e, Pan-Asian, Veterans, women, caregivers and/or neurodiverse.

UBCs make it more possible for team members to find their unique fit within our One Upwork community without having to sacrifice meaningful aspects of their identities.

"Being involved in a UBC (first as a chair and now as a leadership sponsor) has allowed me more opportunity to make a difference. To meet people I wouldn’t normally meet. To help to build a community and culture within the company. I’ve learned so much about different opinions, backgrounds, people…and have been able to step outside of my area of expertise to lead and bring people together."
Kim Saurer
Senior Director, Service Management

Professional Development

As a part of authentically and actively living our mission — to create economic opportunities so people have better lives — both on and at Upwork, Upwork is committed to providing meaningful and unique development opportunities to enable equitable access to professional growth. Here are some examples:


GlowUP is a 14-week community-building experience that provides a forum for Upwork’s leaders of color to connect with themselves and each other, build camaraderie and grow together by exploring shared leadership experiences, opportunities and challenges.


  • Convene leaders of color in a community where their professional goals, needs, and challenges are the central focus
  • Unpack the leadership hurdles they face in a safe and supportive space
  • Enable their empowerment so they can accelerate their influence at Upwork and beyond
  • Nurture their holistic wellbeing to fuel their success


  • 100% of attendees would recommend the 2022 GlowUP Experience to a colleague
  • 100% recognized the experience positively impacted their commitment to Upwork
  • 100% feel more connected to themselves following the 2022 GlowUP Experience
  • 100% feel safer leading authentically following their 2022 GlowUP Experience
  • 100% are clear about their purpose as a leader

McKinsey's Management Accelerator

McKinsey’s Management Accelerator is a program for Black, Asian, and/or Latinx leaders to build core leadership and management capabilities and gain a foundational understanding of key functional areas.


  • Refine and sharpen mindsets, capabilities, and behavior to accelerate career progression
  • Foster a strong network opportunity with other leaders.
  • Step out of their day-to-day to reflect on and plan for their professional and personal aspirations


  • 100% of participants recommend the McKinsey Management Accelerator
  • 100% of participants consider that their problem-solving capabilities have increased as a result of the McKinsey Management Accelerator
  • 100% of managers recommend the McKinsey Management Accelerator
"Upwork encourages me to show up as my full, authentic self. That philosophy allows me to feel comfortable with sharing all of the amazing things that make me who I am. I am a mom, a woman of color, and a product of a military family. Being able to bring all parts of me to work everyday is very encouraging."
Erica Cross
Senior Sales Manager, Enterprise

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