Week of December 9, 2018 — This Week in the Gig Economy

werkapp is a platform that helps companies find meaningful matches with general labour workers, at the click of a button

In this publication of This Week in the Gig Economy, we’re covering topics ranging from the large trends in the Global Labour Market and the latest developments with large gig economy companies. Without further ado:

Gig Economy Development

Photo by Vlad Busuioc on Unsplash

Staples Canada adopting a new look for the gig economy

It’s possible that you may not recognize your local Staples store on your next visit. Staples Canada is transforming its business model with co-working spaces, cafes and more. The company is adopting this new look at two locations in Kirkland, Que. and Toronto to include a range of features including co-working spaces, a technology discovery zone and a “stadium-style” area that can be used for community events. The company settled on a range of features dedicated to the digital-savvy workforce and providing for entrepreneurs and those working in the gig economy.

Staples chief executive officer David Boone said the concept stores are a product of the changing marketplace the retailer has faced as competitors Amazon, Walmart, Muji and Miniso have invaded Staples’ territory, driving down prices and increasing competition.

“If you think about where our customers are going, they are embracing technology, they are embracing different ways of working and education is changing in Canada, so we are…adapting it to where our customers are going,” David Boone, CEO of Staples Canada

We know its winter, rather than making you walk to the nearby store, feel free to click here and, view the new look in the pictures. :)

UberEats, Starbucks pair on coffee delivery

Starbucks unveiled some of its future growth strategies during an investor meeting on Thursday (December 13), including a partnership with Uber Eats in the U.S.

“In locations where drive-thru isn’t feasible we are testing platforms like delivery,” Roz Brewer, chief operating officer, said, according to CNBC.

The company expects to bring Starbucks Delivery to about a quarter of its U.S.-based, company-owned stores by the end of the second quarter. It already tested out the service in Miami, where people embraced the chance to have their favorite coffees and teas delivered, said CEO Kevin Johnson. He noted, however, that not all drinks will be available for delivery because they may not travel well.

Instacart shoppers are boycotting the company over falling wages

On one end, the gig economy is making huge waves globally as it introduced a new way of making a living with flexibility and convenience. On the other end, it seems to be failing to deliver on independence and financial stability once promised to the tens of thousands of employees of Uber, Postmates, and, now, Instacart. The Chicago Tribune has a massive report out on the trials and tribulations of Instacart shoppers (which is what the company calls its independent contractors), who say that since the company altered its pay structure back in October, they’ve seen their earnings drop significantly. Under the new model, workers are paid according to the weight of the items in their orders. In one alarming example, a man who’s been with the company for five years says he received just under $21 for delivering 501 cans of soup. Previously, he would have earned $75 for the same order. Accordingly, a small group of shoppers are now trying to convince others to boycott low-paying orders

Labour Market Update

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Millennials making more money than past generations at the same age

Millennials now earn more money than young adults from any other generation over the last 50 years, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center. What’s more, says Pew Research Center, is that this growth in household income is led partially by millennial women, who are working more and getting paid more than women previously were. According to the Pew Research Center, millennial-led households — defined as ages 22 to 37 — earned on average $69,000 in 2017. The next closest group was Generation X, which brought in $67,600 in 2000 when adjusted for inflation, says Pew Research Center.

“At least as of this point in the business cycle, adjusting for household size, households headed by millennials are doing better than almost any group of 22- to 37-year-old-headed households back as far as we can track it, with the possible exception of 2000,” Richard Fry, a senior researcher with the Pew Research Center, told CBS News.

Trends in the Gig world

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Shaq (Yes, Shaq!) will help the gig economy workers manage their finances

You read that right! Robo-advisor Betterment is partnering with Steady, a startup that helps gig employees find new shifts and short-term employment. Atlanta-based Steady has raised $9 million from investors including Propel Venture Partners and Omidyar Network. Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is also an advisor.

The aim is to help independent workers prepare for retirement and maximize their earnings. “When we surveyed gig economy workers, we found that almost 40% of them felt unprepared to save enough to maintain their lifestyle during their retirement,” Jon Stein, founder and CEO of Betterment, said in an interview. “We have a retirement crisis in the US — no one is saving enough for retirement. The gig economy workers appeared to be even less well prepared than average workers.”

Now you can rent out your car to make some extra cash (Don’t worry! insurance is covered too) — The Airbnb for wheels is here!

Los Angeles-based company HyreCar lets you rent out your car to Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing drivers in need of a vehicle. Recently, HyreCar announced a partnership with American Business Insurance Services to terms an “insurance captive designed specifically for car sharing in the ride-sharing space.” The way it works is when a driver rents a car through HyreCar, the company’s captive covers the insurance, taking the burden off both the driver and the owner. The company also went a step further by introducing what it calls is “Lay Up Insurance”. Here is how the Joe Furnari, the CEO of HyreCar describes it.

“It’s essentially covering that car when it’s laid up outside the HyreCar platform and it automatically turns on when that car is not rented and turned off when that car is rented,” said Furnari. “With lay up insurance you would not need personal insurance. You would use lay up insurance to get it plated and tagged that lay up insurance, what we’ve seen is it’s almost 50% cheaper than having a personal insurance.”

In a release, the company said the availability of lay-up insurance has led to an increase in the number of vehicles offered per owner from 2.3 to 5.1, and HyreCar estimates the creation of the captive will help it save about 25% of its insurance costs. The company says it spent approximately $4.5 million on insurance this year.

Health coverage got easier for the gig workers

Stride Health — the San Franciso based start-up has a new integration with CMS that allows users to choose benefits and apply for and receive subsidies directly in the company’s platform. The company’s platform takes into account factors including demographic information, existing conditions, preferences, income and subsidies members can use to defray costs, to give people more personalized options for their health coverage.

Stride has found a major market among gig and contract employees — one of the fastest growing segments of the country’s workforce — who often don’t have the traditional benefits associated with full-time employment. To that end, the company has partnered with a number of other businesses ranging from Uber to caregiver marketplace CareLinx to real estate firms who employ independent contractors as brokers, to offer Stride as a navigation tool for health coverage.

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