Paul Oyer, a labour economist, is deeply interested in the Gig economy and has been analyzing the development from multiple perspectives. He researched income differences between bit workers and full time employees and consulted Upwork the largest freelance website. He also became a Uber certified driver since he ‘didn’t have any skills to sell as a freelancer’ and to better understand how similar platforms work.
His findings :
1. A Platform like Uber can exponentially grow as the barrier to entry as a worker is very low.
2. Uber male drivers earn about 7% more than the female drivers. The interesting part was to figure how and if the algorithm was making any discrimination while it is supposed to be gender blind. The real reasons? 1st, male drivers drove longer hours, and spent more time on the platform mastering nuances. 2nd, male drivers drove faster and speed increases Uber pay!
3. While the Gig economy offers flexibility it also subjects people to a lot of pressure as in case of any mini entrepreneur. You need to be able to handle fluctuations, inconsistent cashflows and instability.
4. Some days you can make very little!
5. On the flip side of uncertainty as a gig worker in a downturn you will have less work, your full timer counterpart may loose his job entirely.
6. People who are in the gig economy full time make 6% less per year but also work 15% less and if you can learn the nuances you can even charge a premium for your hours ( surge pricing ). In the last article I wrote on lessons from Uber (there will be some more) Ted Graham spoke about hiring more accountants during Tax season and applying surge pricing.
Link to Paul Oyers full interview with more insights –
What an Economist Is Learning by Driving for Uber here – https://stanford.io/2FbO9M0