Uber Is Launching a Tech-Enabled Staffing Business in Chicago

by Tatum Hunter
October 3, 2019
Uber Work staffing Chicago
photo via shutterstock

Uber gets you to work. Now, it can help you get work. 

Uber is launching a staffing platform on Friday here in Chicago, Crain’s reported.

The new branch of Uber’s business will provide companies with on-demand temporary employees — and gig workers with more ways to make money.

The appropriately named Uber Works has been in stealth mode for more than a year, and will serve as a go-between for companies and workers, rather than employing people itself. The company’s first partnership is with staffing agency TrueBlue, which serves 130,000 companies internationally. 

The announcement comes just weeks after the company opened its Uber Freight global headquarters at the Old Main Post Office in Chicago. The on-demand shipping and logistics division contracts with 46,000 carriers and serves more than 1,000 customers. It plans to hire 2,000 people in Chicago during the next three years, and the Uber Works team will be part of that number, a company spokesperson told Built In. 

The new division fits neatly into Uber’s existing business model of connecting its 3.9 million gig economy drivers with ride-hailing passengers — or independent truck drivers with businesses that need products shipped. 

According to Uber, the Works platform will focus on smoothing out some common frustrations for shift workers.

As it stands, the waiting, certification screenings, background checks, dress codes and spotty communication characteristic of shift work are obstacles to people looking for flexible employment, a spokesperson told Built In.

“Right now, if you’re a prep cook or want to do inventory work at a warehouse, all of those tasks are quite hard work. And accessing that work is also pretty tough,” he said. “The work may be far from where you live.”

While the platform was in stealth, Uber’s team interviewed shift workers and the companies that employ them to identify pain points. They also did some shift work themselves, the spokesperson said.

“There’s a lot of horror stories about people not getting paid for the work they did,” he added.

By partnering with existing agencies, Uber Works will make the compensation process more standardized, as well as avoid officially employing any of its users. It will also let workers rate the quality of their shifts. 

The company plans to team up with YWCA Metropolitan Chicago to provide information, onboarding and workforce reentry sessions.

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