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From The US To India, The Gig Economy Job Cuts Went Even Deeper This Week

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It was another tough week for gig economy companies with thousands of jobs cut once again, showing that the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns are far from abating.

Uber laid off a further 3,000 workers with plans to shutter 45 offices globally, which included many regional offices in the US as well as its Asia-Pacific HQ in Singapore and cuts to European outposts such as its customer support center in Ireland.

This comes just a few weeks after it cut 3,700 staff from its ranks, which was seen as a drastic move, but clearly in the eyes of CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, it was not drastic enough.

Uber is far from the only gig economy company over the last week or so that was ravaged by coronavirus-inflicted cuts with the massive Indian market suffering in particular.

Ride-share giant Ola slashed 1,400 staff from its Indian operations and said that its revenue had dropped a staggering 95% over the previous two months. The reductions are across Ola’s various operations which also includes its food delivery business and its financial services wing OlaMoney.

CEO Bhavish Aggarwal told employees in an email that Ola will “need to downsize our organisation”.

The company, which is backed by Softbank much like Uber, had just made a high-profile venture into the busy London market in February to compete with its US counterpart.

Food delivery firm Zomato let go of 13% of its workforce late last week and announced pay cuts for remaining staff. The economic shock of the lockdown has added to the company’s woes, having laid off more than 500 customer support employees last September.

Competitor Swiggy, which has raised more than $1.5 billion from investors including Samsung and Tencent, followed suit this week with 1,100 job losses.

In a blog post, CEO Sriharsha Majety said he made the decision to shut down or scale back parts of its business that will be “highly volatile or will not be highly relevant for the next 18 months”, namely its cloud kitchen operations.

“The biggest impact here is on the cloud kitchens business, with many unknowns about volumes through the year,” he said. “Since the onset of Covid, we have already begun the process of scaling down our kitchen facilities temporarily or permanently, depending on their outlook and profitability profile.”

In the space of just a couple of days, more than 3,000 people lost their jobs in the Indian gig economy and on-demand delivery business. As result of these deep cuts, it may present an opportunity for Amazon to inch further into the market and scoop up more business. Reuters reported this week that the e-commerce giant is launching food delivery operations in India in direct competition with Swiggy and Zomato.

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6 Gig Economy Jobs Perfect for Military Spouses

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The gig economy is an area where military spouses can thrive. For all of the reasons that the rest of the world shy away from Independent Contractor jobs, military spouses rush towards them. Flexible hours? Yes, please. Work from anywhere? Sounds great. No benefits? Don’t really need those.

For the past few years, the military spouse employment issue has been offset just a bit by the gig economy. Companies like Instant Teams and Wise Advise + Assist have made it their mission to connect military spouses with jobs in the gig economy. And it’s working.

While a gig economy job may not be the long term career solution you ultimately want, it’s great if you’re looking to make some cash while staying flexible.

Interested in a gig economy job? Here are six of them that military spouses should consider.

Millie Scout

If you’re a military spouse with some experience moving and a desire to help other spouses iron out the details of their next move, you may enjoy becoming a Millie Scout. With an average pay of $50 to $75 per job you can put your social media and tech skills to work performing tasks like reviewing houses and neighborhoods, checking in on rental properties and walking through properties for your fellow military spouse. This gig economy job can move with you and you’ll be connected with over 130 other Scouts to help you grow your professional network.

Virtual Assistant

Many military spouses have discovered the potential for jobs as a virtual assistant (VA). What does a virtual assistant do? Almost anything, but typically the time-consuming and sometimes tedious tasks that business owners and other people are too busy to do well. These tasks range from data entry to answering emails to transcription.

If you’re interested in becoming a virtual assistant, there’s a free online class designed by military spouse Esther Inman. Inman’s website also has tips to land VA jobs, and she adds resources via social media almost every day.

Online English Teacher

The option of teaching English online has made its way through all of the military spouse groups, but it is still a good option. From VIPKid to Cambly to Boxfish, there are many options. If you don’t have a degree or experience, Cambly is the one for you. They pay $0.17 a minute and you can work as much as you want. (Hourly that comes out to about $10.)

VIPKid, where you can teach one-on-one or group lessons, pays from $14 to $22 an hour, based on your availability and experience within the company. Of course, you’re teaching children in another time zone, so this may not work for everyone.

Boxfish is another option for teaching English to Chinese students. You can teach on-demand or scheduled classes with up to four students and each $10 per 25-minute session. Both VIPKid and Boxfish require a degree and some teaching experience.

Freelance Writer

There are varying degrees of freelance writers, some who freelance full time and some who write just a few pieces a month. Either way, if you’re interested in writing within the military spouse community, check out newly revamped NextGen MilSpouse.

NextGen focuses on the challenges of today’s milspouse entrepreneur. They are looking for the best of the best within the writing community as they are a trusted resource. They pay $50 per guest post, which is pretty standard within the milspouse community. Check out what they’re looking for specifically on their website.

Delivery Driver

One new(ish) gig economy job is driving for Shipt or Instacart. Just like the other jobs, you can set your own hours, choose when and where you want to take orders. Veteran spouse Shauna Hill says it’s a great way for her to get out of the house when her husband is home and still make some money. Hill drives for Shipt.

“The pay is pretty decent too, the more work you put in the better you get paid. You will start to gain “regular” customers based on how they rate you as a shopper. The better your rating the more orders you are offered. It’s hard to put an average rate on it, but I typically get about $15-20 an order and it takes about an hour to complete most shops and deliveries.”

PCS Mentor

If you are looking for a way to help military spouses during their PCS, another option is to become a PCS Mentor with MilHousing Network. By connecting with spouses throughout the PCS process, you’ll be able to help them with things besides buying or selling a home. This position is great for the military spouse who likes to connect with others, makes friends easily and has personal experience with finding a rental home or buying/selling a home.

Gig economy jobs come in all forms. Some of them may lead to longer, more permanent jobs and some may be good just for a season. Just like some houses and some duty stations.

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–Rebecca Alwine can be reached at rebecca.alwine@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.

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