Working for on demand startups like Uber and TaskRabbit is supposed to offer flexible hours and higher wages, but many workers have found the pay lower and the hours less flexible than they expected. Even more surprising: 8 percent of those chauffeuring passengers and 16 percent of those making deliveries said they lack personal autoinsurance.
Those are among the findings from a survey about the work life of independent contractors for on-demand startups, a booming sector of the tech industry, being released Wednesday.
"We want to shed light on the industry as a whole," said Isaac Madan, a Stanford master's candidate in bioinformatics who worked with two other Stanford students and a recent alumnus on the survey of 1,330 workers. "People need to understand how this space will change and evolve and help the economy."
On-demand, often called the sharing economy, refers to companies that let users summon workers via smartphone apps to handle all manner of services: rides, cleaning, chores, deliveries, car parking, waiting in lines. Almost uniformly, those workers are independent contractors rather than salaried employees.
That status is the main point of contention in a recent rash of lawsuits in which workers are filing for employee status. While the survey did not directly ask
contractors if they would prefer to be employees, it found that their top workplace desires were to have paid health insurance, retirement benefits and paid time off for holidays, vacation and sick days - all perks of full time workers. Respondents also expressed interest in having more chances for advancement, education sponsorship, disability insurance and human relations support. Because respondents were recruited rather than randomly selected, the survey does not claim to be representational but a conclusion one may come to is that flexibility ofnew jobs comes with a cost. Not all workers are prepared for that!
SFChronicle.com and SFGate.com, May 20, 2015. Adaptado