Uber has created more jobs than it has destroyed, according to a new study, despite regularly being characterised as one of the villains of the so-called sharing economy.
The number of self-employed drivers rose by 50 per cent in cities where Uber started operations, more than compensating for jobs lost in the taxi sector, researchers at the Oxford Martin School said.
However, wages for traditional taxi drivers have fallen 10 per cent, highlighting the way Uber has been able to rapidly take away market share. That wage decline was offset by the rise in wages for self-employed drivers.
There was “little evidence of adverse impacts on labour market outcomes” when the company took on a new city, the study says.
The ride-hailing app is one of the most prominent disruptive forces in the sharing economy, with companies in almost every sector attempting to emulate its platform model.
With the notoriety of a $60bn valuation the company has also faced protests, bans, and legal challenges around the world.
Carl Benedikt Frey, a co-author of the report and the co-director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment, said: “Uber is the flagship of the sharing economy. But what our study shows is that even in one of the sharing economy’s most exposed industries, traditional jobs have not been displaced.”
“The effects are complex; while some have seen a loss in income, Uber has created more jobs than it has destroyed, demonstrated by the staggering expansion of self-employment following its introduction.”
However, the study did not take into account the effect of self-driving cars. Uber has heavily investing in the technology, which has the potential to destroy the jobs of every single driver, whether in the sharing economy or not.