Companies that offer workers the ability to get paid while working short-term gigs — such as ride-hailing startups Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. — are trying harder to appeal to workers as the unemployment rate falls to 16-year lows.
Uber updated its app in July to let customers leave tips for the company’s roughly 600,000 active drivers, and started a test plan to provide auto insurance to help cover job-related accidents, The Wall Street Journal reported. Lyft in 2015 launched a tiered perks program that gave better tax, health and car maintenance services depending on the number of rides completed by its roughly 700,000 drivers.
“There’s been a lot of growth in the area of acknowledging that people are what makes our business run,” Ru Cymrot-Wu, senior people operations partner at shopping service Instacart. “We need to ensure they have support and resources.”
Instacart plans to offer workers discounted mobile-phone plans in the coming months; it has also begun opening its company town halls to its tens of thousands of on-demand shoppers. Food delivery startup DoorDash Inc. enlisted outside companies to connect its 100,000 independent contractors to health-insurance plans and offers next-day payments.
Postmates, an on-demand delivery service, offers signing bonuses ranging from $50 to $500. Bonuses for new Uber drivers recently hit $1,000 in San Francisco; for Lyft, it was $800. Drivers get referral bonuses, too, according to the WSJ.
U.S. job openings jumped to a record high in June, outpacing hiring, the latest indication that companies are having trouble finding qualified workers, Reuters reported.
The Labor Department said job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased 461,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.2 million. That was the highest level since the series started in December 2000. The monthly increase in job openings was the biggest since July 2015. Hiring increased to 5.5 million in June from 5.4 million prior month.
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