People

‘You can't help but mobilize people’: Gig firms hire for roller coaster ride

This month's look into tech job listings hints at a great reckoning for on-demand companies.

People on a roller coaster

This month's dive into tech job listings hints at the great reckoning in the gig industry as it confronts new levels of investor and government scrutiny.

Photo: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images

Temp jobs, freelancing, gig work, the platform economy: Whatever words you want to use, mobile apps with contract labor as a central feature have transformed the job market in just a few years. Uber and Lyft both went public last year — in the process discovering that shareholders don't have quite the same tolerance for burning cash as VCs, at least not any more — and DoorDash filed for its IPO on Thursday.

This month's dive into tech job listings (read last month's edition here) hints at the great reckoning in this industry as it confronts new levels of investor and government scrutiny. At both corporate headquarters and out in the real world, where millions of contractors keep all kinds of on-demand companies running, the range of open positions is vast. We found six of the most revealing examples, from San Francisco to Georgia to Jakarta.

Uber: Data Science Manager - Driver Experience

San Francisco

Want to understand the psyche of an Uber driver without actually driving for Uber? The ride-hailing giant's driver data science team "analyzes and builds models of driver behavior," then works with the company's marketplace team to "provide real time signals" for fares and ride-matching. The driver data science manager job was posted in recent weeks, along with several other driver-adjacent technical roles, as Uber and peers like Lyft fight California's new Assembly Bill 5, which, by reclassifying drivers as employees, could force gig companies to drastically increase wages.

Requirements: Ph.D. or master's in computer science or related field; 5+ years of data science experience; "Everywhere you go, you can't help but mobilize people."

Lyft: Director, Driver Education & Success Operations

San Francisco

As part of the battle over AB 5, Lyft has recently ramped up political spending. The company is also expanding its "driver education & success" team to rethink how the company's corporate headquarters interacts with drivers and field teams in cities where it operates. In a bid to "create a culture of advocacy for our drivers by working to implement company vision," this person will manage pilots for new kinds of physical outposts for the digital company and test new resources for drivers. One perk? A 20% discount on all Lyft rides.

Requirements: 10+ years of operational experience; exceptional leadership skills; track record of "driving an agenda and building consensus."

Gojek: People Partner Analyst

Jakarta, Indonesia

There's an Uber of Indonesia, and it's called Gojek. The company launched in 2010 as a motorcycle taxi service and has raised more than $1.2 billion since ("Indonesia's first unicorn," the company's website says) from investors including Google. Now, amid an effort to expand from a ride app into food delivery, digital payments, on-demand massages and two dozen other services, Gojek is hiring a people partner analyst in Jakarta to better quantify its sprawling workforce. The role is tasked with "managing people data," developing standardized people metrics and reporting the findings.

Requirements: 3+ years of experience in data analytics; strong quantitative and spreadsheet skills; "Highly flexible attitude."

Boxbot: Delivery Driver

Oakland

Shortly after driverless package delivery startup Boxbot launched in 2016, the company founded by ex-Tesla and Uber engineers and backed by Toyota's artificial intelligence fund was hailed as part of "the autonomous vehicle revolution." Maybe someday. For now, the company is offering $16 an hour to deliver orders to specified addresses within required time frames — much like Amazon Prime, Pizza Hut and dozens of other delivery startups hiring for similar roles in the Bay Area.

Requirements: Valid California driver's license; clean driving record; ability to lift up to 70 pounds.

Rappi: Special Projects

Mexico City

It's been a roller coaster year for Colombian delivery startup Rappi, which raised nearly $1 billion from SoftBank last spring before laying off 6% of its workforce in January. As the company tries to avoid the fate of other SoftBank-backed startups like Brandless, it's staffing up again in Latin American cities including Cali, Colombia, and Mexico City. In the latter, Rappi — recognizable for its flock of motorcycle drivers sporting the company's mustache logo — is building up a five-person "special projects" team to focus on growth, guaranteeing instant delivery for everything from food to cash to a new set of AirPods. Meanwhile, Latin American competitors with similar logistics ambitions, like Shippify, are on a hiring binge in Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia and beyond.

Requirements: 1-2 years of experience; natural leader; "You work long hours and you like difficult challenges."

Deliv: Community Manager

Roswell, Georgia

The "community manager" is ubiquitous not just in the gig economy, but at many well-heeled tech companies. WeWork, Udemy, Amazon and many others are hiring for the jack-of-all-trades office manager 2.0 role, which is often on the front lines of bridging digital platforms with flashy marketing and the messy reality of daily operations, like overseeing low-wage contractors or office service workers. In the case of Silicon Valley last-mile delivery startup Deliv, which is backed by Google, General Motors and UPS, the company needs a new community manager in the Atlanta area to oversee contract drivers, manage their schedules and send them monthly newsletters and regular social media updates.

Requirements: 3+ years of experience in community management or marketing; social media savvy; proficiency in office software; track record of "owning KPIs."
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Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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