Uber Works on demand labor staffing service launches in Chicago for gig economy

www.chicagobusiness.com

Uber is getting into the staffing game with the announcement of the long anticipated Uber Works. The basic premise is "a platform that connects workers with big and small businesses." Similar to that of many companies going after the gig economy - Bacon, Catapult, Gig, JobToday, Limber, Rota, Shiftgig, Shiifty, Snag and Syft to name a few - Uber hopes to be the one stop shop for workers looking for hourly jobs, whether as Uber drivers or within roles like general labor, back of house or front of house. In some ways Works makes a lot of sense. Uber was a major catalyst for the gig economy, giving drivers (in theory anyway) the ability to reinvent their work-life balance with more flexible schedules. Why not extend the supply and demand model for drivers and riders out to other categories like dishwashers, cashiers or baristas and create the equivalent 'driver rating' for other verticals? The strategy is sound and Uber certainly has the brand awareness and heft to be a formidable competitor in the space. That said, the success will largely on a) the willingness to dedicate resources to go after a very difficult and nuanced space and b) the ability to convince staffing agencies (Uber's first target customer) and then the businesses directly to leverage Uber technology. In my mind the latter challenge is the harder problem to solve. Uber is, at its core, a consumer company. This product is a B2B network with an entirely different level of requirements and SLAs. One can argue that they have executed on a B2B product with Uber Eats. However, Eats is primarily a demand generation product that leverages the existing driver network, so I would say it is quite different. Uber's first true foray into the enterprise with Uber Rush didn't end so well. Hopefully Works has a different outcome but given the challenges Uber are facing in the public markets and the focus required to get this category right, I am skeptical.

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