Uber: Driving the Gig Economy Up, Up and UP | DCR Workforce Blog

Uber: Driving the Gig Economy Up, Up and UP

The contingent workforce consists of different types of non-employees like agency temp workers, contract company workers, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, standard part-time workers and on-demand workforce. In today’s job market they make up the majority of a company’s workforce in some sectors, as they form a part of a business strategy that focuses on increased flexibility, lowered fixed costs and superior skills. The gig economy is also beneficial to workers who want flexibility, control over their schedules and careers and for those who envision entrepreneurship without the hassles of owning a big company. On average, contingent workers make up 18% of the total workforce (and counting).

As companies shed non-core tasks and government budgets come under strain, the structure of workforce has changed and moved away from stable employment and the usual benefits. Many workers are found working as contractors across a range of traditional industries – from financial services to highway inspectors to public service. Pending results from the DOL’s proposed reckoning of the gig economy, an estimated 53 million people identify as freelancers in the United States today.

Gig economy aka the Uber economy

Uber is all about having on-demand drivers with their own vehicles, who are micro-entrepreneurs at heart and entirely willing to be summoned by an app to act as drivers. They work from gig to gig (or ride to ride) and get paid per ride instead of hourly wages. Workers in such alternative arrangements often have erratic schedules, spotty earnings and few benefits such as health insurance, Social Security or a retirement plan. Yet Uber has hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the nation.

Any company that uses contingent workers on gigs, needs to know how to attract the right talent, which in Uber’s case would be a background check, their own car (with certain stipulations), insurance, good driving record and a driver’s license.

Some facts about the Uber economy:

  • Number of users – 8 million
  • Number of drivers – 160,000
  • Number of trips – 2 billion and counting
  • Presence in cities – 400 (and counting)
  • Presence in countries – 70 (and counting)

           (Source: Twitter)

Research by JP Morgan has found that at least 1% of all adults have experimented with the labor sites offered by the gig economy since 2012, but not all have remained active on these platforms.

online gig economy growth

While Uber’s labor platform of gigs has increased, it’s capped low at just under .04% of the total labor force. This makes Uber the most dominant player in the group, with high market share and popularity. As more Uber drivers come to enjoy using the app to find gig jobs, Uber will gain in popularity by being proactive and supportive.

A start-up such as Uber needs to have a much higher growth as it attracts talent to achieve greater publicity. Moving stories of how an Uber driver got crowdfunded, thanks to a large-hearted passenger’s help to see his son compete at the Rio Olympics help to leverage public favor, which doesn’t hurt.

Yet Uber and companies like it are driving the economy up, up and UP!

What’s your experience with the Uber economy? Is your company powered by gig workers? Are you a gig worker? Share your experience with us!

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.