After the food business with Uber Eats and micro-mobility with Jump, Uber has now ventured into becoming a matchmaker for blue-collar freelancers or gig workers and businesses.
With losses running into billions of dollars, a future that might be bereft of profit forever, a long list of legal woes globally in the past etc., global transportation technology and perhaps SoftBank’s biggest bet that failed to deliver in its IPO, Uber has been looking to diversify itself in its struggle to become a sustainable business. After the food business with Uber Eats, the company has now ventured into becoming a matchmaker for blue-collar freelancers or gig workers and businesses. The company recently launched its new app — Uber Works for workers to find work available real-time with businesses listed on the app.
The argument that “workers face rigid scheduling and opaque information about where they can pick up shifts and how much they can expect to earn. Businesses struggle to staff up to meet peak demand and have to grapple with missed shifts and high turnover,” has led Uber to create Uber Works. The service is launched in Chicago and would “soon” be expanded to more places, the company announced in a blog post. The variety of work included in shifts could range from working at events and helping in cleaning, lifting, and moving things around or working at a warehouse or dishwashing, cooking etc.
Through the new app, the freelancer can check out the available shifts, details around gross pay, location and skills required etc., along with punch-in and punch-out work timings and breaks. Uber has partnered with staffing agencies who employ, pay, and handle worker benefits. The company had earlier ventured into a micro-mobility vertical with Jump e-bikes and scooters.
The company has been in the middle of legal troubles in the past in multiple countries including the US, the UK, and other countries in Europe, India etc., involving rape cases, gender discrimination, self-driving car fatality, data breach, employee harassment, and more.
Uber hasn’t disclosed the new cities and countries it would be expanding to even as it would compete with other players in the freelancing jobs market in the US including Gig, JobToday, Bacon etc. The market for freelancing jobs marketplace is yet to kick off in India with only a handful of startups operating including GigIndia, Flexiple, Wishup, Truelancer etc.