Uber Wants To Create 20,000 Jobs In The Australian Economy, But What Sort Of Jobs Are They?

If you're a subscriber to Uber in Australia, you received a curious email yesterday. "Uber creating 20,000 new jobs in Australia in 2015" was the subject, and the crux of the missive was to tell subscribers that despite what they may have heard from incumbent operators, Uber is doing good things for the economy. So what are these 20,000 new jobs Uber wants to create in Australia, and can it pull it off? The devil, as always, is in the detail.

Here's a quick excerpt from the email:

Yesterday, our Senior Vice President, David Plouffe, announced that Uber is committed to creating 20,000 new jobs in Australia in 2015. We are setting ourselves a challenge which we believe we can achieve through partnership with governments and organisations who share our vision of opening up economic opportunity in every city.
Each of these new jobs will be filled by people who have passed rigorous criminal and driving history background checks, who are fully insured, and who are seeking to earn a flexible income to support their families. They are like Debra, a single mother training to be a nurse in Queensland. Or Patrick, who is supporting his daughter's tennis career (and coaching her) through driving uberX in Sydney. Or Adam who is saving to buy a house for his young family in Melbourne.
These drivers help power their city's economy, keep our roads safer and reduce congestion.

So what sort of jobs will Uber be offering to Aussie jobseekers when it has less than 50 open positions advertised around the country on its jobs site right now?

The 20,000 jobs they're talking about are UberX driver roles. UberX is the service that allows ordinary citizens to use their cars to pick up people who hail using the Uber app. The barrier to entry is low: the citizens looking to work for as UberX drivers don't apply through a traditional job service like Seek, they simply open the Uber website and put their hand up to be a driver.

Riding with UberX as a customer is 15 per cent cheaper than an ordinary cab and has drawn the ire of old-world cab drivers in Australia's capital cities.

These old-world cab drivers pay a small fortune in upkeep for registration, radios and taxi plates every year: something which is being rapidly devalued by the entry of UberX into the local market. The news that 20,000 more UberX drivers are planned is likely to send a chill down their collective spines.

Included in the email were links to the stories of real drivers currently operating UberX vehicles arounds Australia.

Uber is at pains to point out that these ordinary UberX drivers have had background and car safety checks to ensure they're ok to carry ordinary passengers like you and me. Despite its best efforts however, it seems a month won't go by without a report of an Uber driver somewhere in the world behaving badly. We've talked about a few of those before.

So with the public awareness campaign underway and the fight of its life against taxicab incumbents in full swing, Uber is trying to spin out a new story where it has no opposition: the creation of new jobs.

If anyone -- say the taxi industry -- were to argue with the creation of new jobs in an economy that desperately needs them, they would be branded as anti-progress and against the interests of Australia and her ongoing prosperity. It's the perfect platform in which to wage a war for hearts and minds.

Uber has recently been making a lot of noise to try and sell its app-based, ride-sharing vision of the future to government leaders, and it seems to have landed a big fish in the form of Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey.

Hockey reportedly told colleagues that "the jobs are in Uber", extolling the benefits of smart economy apps like Uber, Spotify and Netflix.

Hockey is a man who has been selling the dream of Coalition-fuelled job creation for years now, so the news that Uber is pumping smarter jobs into the economy will be welcome.

Whether or not the jobs Hockey is talking about will belong to Uber as a traditional employer remains to be seen, however, with the company currently coming under fire in the US for employing drivers as independent contractors rather than traditional employees.

Uber is staring down the barrel of a lawsuit brought against it by drivers who are seeking employee benefits from the companies they drive for. Companies like Uber in the US aren't required to award contractors with benefits like expenses, maintenance or other out-of-pocket costs.

Needless to say, if Uber is forced to treat the thousands of drivers it has as employees and pay them benefits, the earning growth of the companies will shrink due to all the new overheads.

So Uber may be seeking to create jobs in the Australian economy in the same way as it does in the US, but they aren't jobs in the traditional sense. They're so-called "new economy jobs" where benefits include flexible working hours, new opportunities in new industries and greater freedom through the use of technology.

New economy jobs are gold for a nation looking for smarter jobs at the end of an old-fashioned resources boom, which may be why the Treasurer has taken the opportunity to talk them up to his analogue counterparts and in turn, the nation.

Either way: Uber is in Australia fighting the 800-pound CabCharge gorilla, and they want you to help.



    The drivers don't work FOR Uber.... They use Uber's brand and app. They work for themselves, they are self employed. Uber doesn't owe them anything other than fair pricing and support.

    If they had to supply vehicles, extra costs, maintenance etc... then you're basically back at the Taxi business model and drivers would have to pay to use the service.

    The whole point is that all Uber does is provide the customer and takes it's cut for doing that.

    It doesn't matter what kind of jobs they are, its not up to us or the government to interfere.

    When 2 adult parties voluntarily agree to a peaceful exchange of labour for income, no bureaucrat has any business telling them they need approval.

    The taxi cartel needs to be smashed.

      Wow...so when the government imposes private hirecar rules on uber drivers, like regular private hirecar drivers you obey the laws? And when uber is taxed for its aussie sourced income, they pay up or get charged with a criminal offence?

    Seen as they're not holders of appropriate credentials to drive a taxi. Uber seeks to create 20,000 criminals.

      Taxi driver?

      Uber is great. I gave up taxis a year ago and to date I haven't been ripped off, taken the wrong way, sworn at because the fare isn't bit enough, driven off on, sat in a car that smells like vomit and ive paid a cheaper amount for it all!

    Uber creating 20,000 jobs in Australia sounds better than "Uber preying on 20,000 desperate people to pay them below award wage". Unfortunately the latter is more accurate

    Rules on the vehicle operator being an accredited operator or you take a 110,000 dollar fine.

    The claim that UberX drivers are fully insured is simply untrue. Find me an insurance company that will fully insure under the auspices of UberX and I will eat my shorts. In WA at least they require "F" class endorsement and CTP upgrade.

    Uber is mystery is that drivers are not the subcontractors, they are being treated like employ by uber. it sound good you are your boss but this is not true and you what when you login into uber ap it shows " your private driver" stop cheating people let them understand these drivers are driving for commercial purpose, you can never know how uber rating works if i am rating someone 4 or 3 for me its ok but not perfect but the vulnerable people who are as Uber partner may lose their job. we should understand these drivers are human they can be sick, they also need leave, they need job security and they also need proof of payments to get their lease and loans. Uber is exploiting jobless people they are Uber driver because they don't have any option.

    Uber must treat them as a human not as their app

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