The rapidly booming gig workforce is ushering in a new economic revolution globally. India is at the helm of it, housing the world’s youngest population and contributing half-a-billion workers to the gig economy. In the coming decade, the Indian gig economy is prepared to undergo rapid growth, and efforts are underway towards improving the living standard of the gig workforce.
One of the recurring challenges that most gig workers face is the lack of respect and dignity in society. Through our Partner Enablement initiatives, one of our goals has been to bring respect to our Partners who deliver Services to our customers.
To understand the progress we have made towards achieving this goal, we surveyed a cohort of 4,528 Urban Company Service Partners. The findings show that most Partners have witnessed a change in the way the people around them treat them since being associated with Urban Company.
83% Service Partners witness an increase in respect
Through the internal survey, it has been found that 83% of the Service Partners surveyed feel an increase in respect in the society.
Upon further digging into the responses to the survey, it has been found that of the 83%:
- 44% felt an increase in respect from family, which led to an increase in self confidence
- 44% felt an increase in respect from customers, which led to a greater sense of self value and value of their work
- 44% also felt an increase in respect from the community, which resulted in a better position of respect and acceptance in their communities
How did we achieve this?
Economic empowerment on the rise
Increased earnings have always been a key pillar of partner enablement at Urban Company. According to our latest Partner Earnings Index, our Service Partners earn an average of INR 322 per hour, which is ~235% more than the prescribed minimum wage for semi-skilled workers in New Delhi. Moreover, according to the earnings benchmarking study conducted by PGA Labs in 2021, our partners earn 4x more than their offline counterparts, monthly on an average.
An increase in income significantly increases the chances of upward social mobility and paves the way for a better quality of life.
Assurance of Safety on the platform
In the internal survey conducted, we found a correlation between partners witnessing an increase in respect in the society and partners who feel safe on the platform.
While 83% partners who participated in the survey felt an increase in respect since joining Urban Company, 84% of the same cohort also agreed to feeling safe while delivering services.
By focusing on increasing safety, especially in the Spa and Massage professions, we have built respect and dignity in the profession that were earlier looked down upon.
Our algorithm does not offer cross-gender leads to our partners in the spa and massage categories. We also have an immediate SOS helpline on the Partner App that dispatches an on-ground safety team to the partner’s location immediately in times of crisis.
Professionalizing the domestic
Building a platform that dignifies our Partner’s lives is also synonymous with professionalizing the services that are otherwise seen as “domestic chores”, like in the case with cleaning.
Through our Cleaning business, we have successfully built a vertical that surpasses all superficial societal boundaries and empowers professionals to build a career that is free of prejudice and allows for upward social mobility.
Glimpses from our Cleaning training program
To professionalize the cleaning industry, we train and upskill our Partners both on hard skills and soft skills required on the field. Through the usage of high-end tools during the service, technology that enables them to be part of the platform and the Urban Company uniform that makes them representatives of our business, we have effectively managed to move the perception of cleaning to bring in a new wave of change.
Respect from customers
We want our professionals to be acknowledged every time they deliver a service. To build a fair marketplace where mutual respect is paramount, we always urge our customers to treat our Partners with kindness by offering them water or simply providing washroom access, which are displayed in the form of small but effective cues on our bookings page.
In addition, we also have customer ratings on the platform that lets our Partners rate their customers, just like our customers rate professionals on a scale of 1 to 5.
If a customer disrespects, discriminates against, or misbehaves with the Partner, the latter can rate the customer accordingly, and they won’t be matched with the same Partner again. The Partner can also contact our helpline if they want to escalate the matter further.
Security and Well-being benefits
We believe empowering our Partners through decent work and economic growth also means creating social security nets to have their backs in times of crisis. This helps them in staying out of third-party debt traps and be a part of a formal economy.
To this effect, all active Urban Company Partners in India benefit from free life, accidental and health insurance cover.
- Free life insurance cover of INR 6 lacs
- Free disability insurance cover of INR 6 lacs
- Free health insurance cover for up to INR 1 lacs
- Select high performing partners get a free family health insurance cover of INR 2 lacs covering their spouse and two kids
- Up to 12 free medical consultations per year
Additionally, we enable access to credit for our partners through tie ups with NBFCs and fintechs. All eligible partners can avail personal loans up to INR 1 lac and initial kit loans.
To ensure their further growth, we also launched an industry-first Partner Stock Option Plan (PSOP). Through this initiative, our Partners get to partake in the company’s growth. In FY23, we granted stocks worth INR 5.2 Cr to 500 service partners.
Training and Upskilling
All our Partners benefit from our superior training and upskilling modules that focus on both hard skills and soft skills that are required to deliver high-quality services.
Our Service Partners are Skill India-certified and members of the Skill India portal under our MoU with the National Skill Development Council.
At Urban Company, we are not only creating jobs for our Service Partners, but also crafting a long-term career for them. Through our structured training modules, our Service Partners get the chance to be upskilled and improve their earning potential. Our Service Partners get opportunities to move upwards in their profession through upskilling, enhancing soft skills and even diversifying into newer categories. It does not only help Service Partners earn more money, the new skills they learn make them resistant to the waves of seasonal jobs.
Financial and Health workshops
We conduct regular workshops for all our Service Partners pan-India on finance, health and safety with the aim to educate them on these crucial topics, improve their quality of living, impact their worldview, and eventually reduce inequalities in the society.
Our efforts are targeted towards bringing about a change in the lives of the gig workforce, steering them towards a life of respect. The results of our internal survey underscores the pivotal role a gig platform can play in fostering dignity. Through the comprehensive efforts explained earlier, we envision a future of empowering and uplifting our Service Partners and their families towards socio-economic betterment and brighter future.