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Good gig: Report says Uber Eats a boon for workers with no government support

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Digital economy favourite Uber Eats generated thousands of jobs during the pandemic, especially for people with visa restrictions or limited skills who couldn’t get government support.

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A report commission by the company into its Australian arm says Uber Eats generated almost 60,000 jobs last year, with the average delivery driver earning more than $20 an hour after costs.

The Accenture report released late plays up the flexible work benefits of the food home delivery operation accessed by consumers through the Uber Eats app.

“As dining at restaurants no longer become an option (during the pandemic) consumer spending on food delivery services was quick to take its place,” the report found.

“Consumer spending on food delivery is now three times more than before the pandemic started.

“During this time, spending at restaurants has also returned to pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that delivery platforms are here to stay.”

Last year, Uber Eats generated 59,000 jobs – more than eight times the jobs available when the operation began in Australia in 2016, the report said.

Many of these jobs went to “individuals who may have otherwise struggled to access work” because of visa restrictions, limited skills or experience and limited fluency in English.

Some 77 per cent of these workers were ineligible for federal government support during the pandemic, mainly due to their visa status.

Six in 10 delivery workers started the job to support themselves financially during the pandemic. Nearly one in three increased their hours on delivery platforms during the same period.

After average hourly costs were deducted, the report found delivery workers earned an average take-home pay of $20.74 an hour if they used a car, $21.97 with a motorbike and $21.92 with a bicycle.

According to the report, delivery workers valued the flexibility and the “autonomy of being their own boss”.

Some “84 per cent of them indicated that flexibility was more important than an hourly wage, while another 84 per cent valued flexibility more than other employment benefits”.

Two thirds of workers surveyed were happy with their pay.

However the ‘Making Delivery Work for Everyone’ report also found Uber Eats workers want more dependable earnings.

They also believe customer support for delivery drivers and responsiveness to feedback on Uber Eats require improvement. Some 29 per cent said the current customer support experience was poor.

Accenture used Uber Eats and bespoke survey data – including 9389 Uber Eats workers – as well as publicly available data such as the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey.

-AAP

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