As Covid-19 retreats thousands of opportunities open up

Johannesburg- As Covid-19 eases its grip, the demand for e-hailing and e-delivery services has skyrocketed, with current demand for over 8 000 drivers that can earn up to R20,000 a month.

Uber, Didi, Uber Eats, and Mr delivery are set to grow driver counts by thousands.

The demand has been picking up post lockdown and drivers earning R10,000 – R20,000 p/m.

With Covid-19 slowly easing its grip and the country starting to breathe again, the anticipated sigh of relief comes coupled with some challenges for companies to keep up with demand and opportunities for South Africans to get working.

An important case illustrating this is the e-hailing and food delivery services such as Uber and Mr. Delivery, which are now engaged in a massive recruitment and expansion drive, both trying to make up for lost time and keep up with the surging demand.

However, due to the Covid-19 waves and the subsequent lockdowns, e-hailing and food delivery platforms suffered severe setbacks, leading to a sharp decline in income for drivers on the platforms.

As a result, drivers who relied on the business for their day-to-day survival left the platforms, searching for a more sustainable income.

Jake Willis, CEO of Lulaway, a youth development organization, states that:

“This is a great opportunity for new drivers to seize the platform’s economic opportunity and build their small businesses and regenerate the entrepreneurial market that was devastated by the pandemic.”

According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), the official unemployment rate was 34,4% in the second quarter of 2021. “Whilst this statistic points to a worrying increase in unemployment, this trend is likely to turn as markets recover from the pandemic and businesses that were hard hit start to rebound,” explained Willis.

Since the launch of Uber in South Africa in 2013, the e-hailing service has been faced with taxi violence and accompanying drama.

Unfortunately, there is little reporting that e-hailing platforms have been significant contributors to employment in the country, with tens of thousands of drivers earning substantial incomes.

This trend will continue accelerating in the new e-commerce, remote working, flexi-hour dominated workplace with potential for over 200,000 new opportunities in the space over the next few years.

An important point to note is that these platform operators, as they are called, need very little education — the only requirement in most cases is the drivers’ licenses. Yet, they earn substantially more than entry-level office workers, often four or five times more.

Moreover, the drivers also work according to schedule and are not subjected to bosses ordering them around, which is a significant benefit for many independent-minded millennials.

“Considering the high level of unemployment among South African youth, we need to focus on promoting a digitally savvy, forward-thinking mindset, and support the unemployed in bridging the technological divide so that they can take advantage of these opportunities and contribute to driving the economy forward,” concluded Willis.

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