Sociology Index


'Uberisation' of workforce is a new catchphrase. Uberisation is a transition to a model where economic agents exchange under-utilised capacity of existing assets or human resources, while incurring only low transaction costs. Travis Kalanick is the co-founder and CEO of Uber, the company that gave the term uberisation. Uber was founded in 2009 and the term uberisation came into vogue as recently as 2015.

The term Uberisation, derived from the company name Uber, is also commonly used to refer to globalization. The term uberisation refers to the utilisation of computing platforms, in order to facilitate peer to peer transactions between clients, bypassing the role of centrally planned corporations. The uberisation model has different operating costs in comparison to a traditional business. Uberisation is a business model in which services are offered on demand through direct contact between a customer and a supplier. Applying Uberisation means replacing an inefficient model with one that marries digital technologies with personal human connections.

Uberisation has been made possible by the development of digital technologies developed in the 20th and 21st centuries. Organisations like Uber, GrabCar, and Airbnb enable potential customers to be put into direct contact with potential providers. The phenomenon of uberisation is characterised by the elimination of middle man. Uberisation has taken place in a growing amount of industries. The advent of Airbnb has transformed the hospitality industry. Uberisation has been criticised as catalysing a chaotic shift by undermining existing corporate models.

Examples of uberisation include: GrabCar, Ola Cabs in India, Blablacar, Airbnb, CouchSurfing, Tudou, Indiegogo, eBay, TaskRabbit.

Uberisation has been criticised for its role in facilitating the decline of labour-intensive industries, therefore, threatening jobs.

Uberisation has raised concerns over government regulations and taxation and has led to disputes over the extent to which the provider of services should be held accountable to corporate regulations and tax obligations.

Solicitors Regulation Authority has signalled what it called the ‘Uberisation’ of the legal market with the advent of the freelance solicitor. Solicitors Regulation Authority proposes to make it easier for solicitors to provide reserved legal services on a freelance basis to the public. They would not be required to register as a sole practitioner or be employed by an authorised firm.

The uberisation of housing markets: putting theory into practice. - Andrea Sharam, (Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia). Lyndall Bryant, Queensland University of Technology. The purpose of this paper is to scope a model for how “uberisation” can revolutionise the traditional apartment delivery model in Australia, leading to improved housing affordability.

The Uberisation of Talent: Can the Job Market Really Be Optimised? Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Contributor, Forbes.