Uber down under: the labour market for drivers in Australia

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 18/21

Date: September 2021


Oliver Alexander
Jeff Borland
Andrew Charlton
Amit Singh


We investigate the labour market for Uber drivers in Australia using administrative and survey data. Uber drivers’ total hours of work and driving schedules exhibit substantial heterogeneity and week-to-week variation. We identify several pathways to driving with Uber, associated with different income and job satisfaction outcomes. Drivers for whom Uber is a supplemental source of earnings tend to have increased incomes after joining Uber and express above-average levels of job satisfaction; whereas drivers who are looking for other work have lower incomes and express below-average levels of job satisfaction. Drivers in Australia are relatively more likely to be using Uber to earn supplemental income rather than as their main source of income, similar to the United States, but different from London and France. We find that average earnings (after costs) of Uber drivers in Sydney in 2018 were $21.00 per hour. Variability in earnings between drivers depends primarily on differences in the number of trips per hour – which in turn is related to job tenure, time and location of driving, and the proportion of offered trips accepted by drivers.

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