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Monday, February 26, 2018

Strategic CSR - Uber

The article in the url below does a good job of quantifying the effects of the gig economy on individual earnings:
"How much money do Uber drivers really earn? Since launching in 2009, the company has often changed its pricing model, and the amount of money Uber drivers make has shifted as well. Yet the company has become so large, and been studied so much, that a clearer picture has emerged of what a driver can truly expect to make."
The data summarized in the article comes from a lending company, Earnest, which drew upon loan data where applicants had reported the income they earn from Uber-like jobs. The results do not include information on whether the income is gross or net; or how many hours it took to earn the income:
"Earnest found that the median Uber driver makes $155 a month — third most among the nine gig platforms surveyed. (People working with Airbnb and Lyft tended to earned more.) Meanwhile, the average Uber driver makes $364 a month — fourth most — suggesting some drivers are taking home the lion's share of possible earnings."
Additional studies are also summarized and reveal some fascinating data. There are some great graphics in the article. Here is one comparing earnings across different firms in the sharing economy:
Here is another that breaks down earnings for Uber/Lyft drivers by age group:
And, here is another one showing earnings for Uber/Lyft drivers, by state and per trip, across the U.S.:
Other studies reveal the variations among drivers across cities:
"For even more background on how much Uber drivers make, consider a 2015 study funded by Uber, which found that in its top-20 cities drivers averaged more than $19 an hour in earnings before expenses. However, a year later, internal Uber figures provided to Buzzfeed showed that after expenses were factored in, drivers in three markets — Detroit, Houston, and Denver — earned only $8.77, $10.75, and $13.17 per hour, respectively."
A key question the article doesn't raise, though – does the flexibility offered by such jobs outweigh the relative insecurity/low wages on offer? When I travel in an Uber car, I often ask the driver what s/he thinks about working for Uber. The most common answer I get is that they do not want to be an 'employee' and welcome the flexibility that Uber offers them. If so, are we (society as a whole) best served by letting these people structure their work lives as they wish, or by stepping-in to constrain them 'for their own good'? In other words, in a freely voluntary exchange of labor for money, is the driver working for Uber because s/he has to or because it provides them with the flexibility they otherwise cannot find in other jobs that may pay more (and include benefits), but ultimately are deemed to be less fulfilling?
Take care
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Here's How Much Uber Drivers Really Make
By Rob Wile
July 10, 2017