How Uber is Changing the Workforce

Uber gets a lot of attention for disrupting how the taxi industry works. A closer look shows that Uber is also changing the workforce. These three changes make it possible for more people to earn money while taking control of their own lives.

Image via Flickr by Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon

Flexible Schedules Let People Work When They Want

While Uber partners can create their schedule to be like a full-time job, all of its drivers are independent contractors. As contractors, Uber partners get to set their own schedules. This is a strong benefit for people who want to earn income without the rigid schedules of most part-time or full-time jobs.

Uber is practically the only driving position that doesn’t force you to follow a set schedule. If you feel like taking a few days or even weeks off, you can do it without even telling a supervisor. If you feel like driving in the morning, but you prefer taking nights off, that’s another possibility you can choose.

Flexible schedules let you work when you want. Of course, people have their own motivations for choosing when to drive. Some people prefer to drive with Uber during rush hour and other times when increased demand pushes fares up. Other people would rather avoid the stress of rush hour commutes even if it means earning a little less money. Many people value that flexibility.

No Cap on Earnings

Most workers can only earn certain amounts of money per year. Without bonus packages and other incentives, most people earn an annual salary or hourly rate. No matter how much they work, they can only increase their incomes by small amounts. This effectively puts a cap on their earnings.

Uber doesn’t have any policies that could potentially cap a driver’s income. Some Uber partners choose to work a few hours a week. Those drivers earn supplemental income, but they probably aren’t going to make six figures.

In New York City, the median wage for an Uber partner is just over $90,000. Some drivers earn significantly less because they work part-time. Other contractors commit themselves to driving full-time. As independent contractors, they can work as many hours as they want. The more they work, the more they can earn.

Location Matters Less and Less

Most companies want workers to spend their days in an office, warehouse, retail store, or other business location. Even cab drivers have to check in with headquarters at the beginning and end of each shift.

Uber has helped make location less important. Drivers don’t need to visit a headquarters or check in with a supervisor. They have more autonomy that lets them make their own decisions. Since they get paid according to how much they drive, Uber doesn’t even need to worry about contractors punching a time clock.

The only limitation is that drivers must work in cities where Uber currently operates. Considering that the company is in 57 countries all over the world, that isn’t much of a concern. Practically anyone living near a medium-sized city can apply to work for Uber without ever visiting an office.

These are just three ways that Uber is changing the workforce. What other changes do you think Uber will bring to workers?

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Posted by on June 4, 2015. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION,Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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3 Responses to How Uber is Changing the Workforce

  1. Rachael Reply

    June 4, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I heard they weren’t well regulated and you don’t know if you might be getting into a car with a druggie or a serial murderer. Anyone know if this is the case?

  2. Bill Formby Reply

    June 4, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    They have shut out of many cities because taxi service is regulated and licensed and Uber does not get their people licensed. Rachael is correct because there are no meaningful background checks on those who contract with Uber. Taxi drivers undergo a police background check to get an individual license to transport passengers.

  3. mrloser82 Reply

    June 5, 2015 at 10:05 am

    When will the first city apply a Uber-style policy to snow plowing? You own a pick-up with a plow and want to make some extra money? Bid on cleaning my street today.

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