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Uber’s move into recruitment sector threatens to disrupt traditional employment

Over a million people in the UK are involved in some kind of gig work

Uber is looking to expand into the recruitment sector, with a new service designed to provide ‘on-demand’ temporary workers.

With more workers taking on flexible roles or ‘gig jobs’ on the side, the concept of a traditional 9-to-5 work pattern is being eroded. Over a million UK workers are involved in some kind of gig work, whether it be supplementing a full-time job, or a zero-hour contract that is their sole form of income.

Uber is one of the largest employers of gig-workers, with a record of poor treatment of its employees. This has left industry experts sceptical that the company will succeed in the people-driven field of recruitment.

Conor McKeon, Divisional Director at VHR Global Technical Recruitment, says:

“Moving from transporting people to recruiting them is an interesting concept. While the announcement may pose a threat to the ‘high street’ or multi-focused recruitment giants that handle large-volume general contracts, specialist and technical recruitment companies are unlikely to suffer. Recruitment is still a people-centred industry and involves much more than getting someone from A to B. By creating a process that is automated and transactional, Uber would almost downgrade the recruitment experience.”

Since 2010, there has been a 25% increase in ‘non-employer’ businesses within the UK’s private sector. With over 800,000 non-employer businesses in the UK, gig workers are flooded with opportunity, but also feel the pressure to constantly secure jobs.

The gig economy brings flexibility at the cost of job security. Traditional contract work is legally binding, bringing with it protection and security. Gig jobs offer fewer hours on average and less pay. Gig work is often set against the worker, which brings with it more challenges for workers to stay afloat.

McKeon goes on, ‘Our clients and candidates continue to work with VHR because we understand our industries, the problems and the solutions within. Contacting a recruitment company that specialises in your market is the best way to secure long-term work or the right skilled staff.’

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