When COVID first sunk its teeth into the western world and shutdowns began, ride sharing was one of the first business casualties. Services were largely suspended, and if they weren’t, people just weren’t willing to get in a stranger’s car with other strangers as passengers while a highly contagious disease was floating around.
Companies like Uber made pivots away from their flagship ride sharing services towards food delivery, which has allowed them to coast through the pandemic and has proved to be quite a profitable venture.
Now, over eight months into the pandemic, ridesharing is still hurting, but is starting to show the first signs of recovery. COVID-19 is far from gone; the U.S. is once again hitting record numbers of daily cases and resurgences are happening across the world. But perhaps we’ve all become acclimated (or cavalier) to the precautions necessary in a pandemic and are ready to return to the old way of doing things, even if it means risking our wellbeing to do so.
Below, we’ve looked at hiring data for five major international ridesharing companies over the last three-to-six months, all of which have seen a significant increase in job listings. We’ve paired this information with the number of new COVID-19 cases over a seven-day period in the company's home country, via the New York Times’ COVID World Map.
1) Uber (United States)
Change in job listings (Since June): +682
New COVID cases: 497,644
All eyes have been on Uber at all stages of the pandemic, from its early-stage scramble to stay afloat to its acquisition of Postmates to its current all-in move on food delivery. Now, Uber is increasing its hiring significantly. Our data shows that Uber had only one open job listing in late May through early June, but it's since climbed back up to 682. That's still less than half of its pre-COVID hiring numbers, but that rate of growth shows that Uber may be gearing up for a return to ride sharing either during the winter months or early 2021.
It might not be that simple, however. The United States is the country with the greatest number of new cases by far, and remains one of the most affected in the world. Although Uber is a global operation, the oncoming third wave and projected 200,000 additional deaths during the winter in the U.S. alone will certainly put a hamper on any plans to return to normal.
2) Ola Cabs (India)
Change in job listings (Since Sept.): +232
New COVID cases : 349,336
While India is second on the NYT's list of countries with the greatest number of new COVID-19 cases, it is still overall on a 14-day decline in new cases and only has approximately 3.7 cases per 100,000 people. While India's COVID cases go down, Ola Cabs' hiring is going up.
Though primarily based in India, Ola Cabs is also an international company and has had some trouble convincing regulators abroad to let them operate there. London banned the app last month just as it banned Uber before. India's declining cases will surely help the company recover, but its difficulties abroad may make that process slower than it would be otherwise.
3) Gojek (Indonesia)
Change in job listings (Since June.): +163
New COVID cases : 27,694
Indonesian super app and ride sharing service Gojek is seeing a steady increase in job listings as well. Indonesia is not seeing increases in cases in the way that the U.S. and Europe are, its average daily cases have held relatively steady over the last two weeks. In terms of its business model, Gojek more closely resembles Uber than its other international ridesharing colleagues. Though it started as a ride sharing app, Gojek has a number of varied services it provides, like food delivery and even a video streaming app. Gojek has been able to rely on these services throughout the pandemic, but there appears to be an effort to return to its flagship operation.
4) GrabTaxi (Malaysia)
Change in job listings (Since July): +177
New COVID cases : 6,442
GrabTaxi is a ride sharing app based in Malaysia, but which operates in a number of southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. Its home country has seen a small number of new cases over the last 14 weeks by comparison, but the trend is actually curving upwards steeply. In fact, cases are spiking so dramatically that shutdowns are occuring across the country in an effort to contain the virus.
Nonetheless, GrabTaxi's job listings have been on the up and up, and it may be relying on the significantly more stable or downward trends of its other operating countries like India and Vietnam for its business to resurge through the end of the year and early next.
5) BlaBlaCar (France)
Change in job listings (Since May): +19
New COVID cases : 255,001
BlaBlaCar is having it rough. While it still has seen an icnrease in job listings over the last several months, it is showing nowhere near the same level of growth as many of its international colleagues or competitors at only 19 new listings since May. This is likely because Europe is proving to be an epicenter of the oncoming third wave. Europe as a whole is seeing an incredibly rapid new waverapid new wave of the disease spreading across its borders which will likely keep many countries on lockdown and thus people out of carpools throughout the cold months.
France ranks third on the NYT's list of countries with the greatest number of new COVID-19 cases, and many other countries such as Italy, Spain and Belgium aren't lagging too far behind. All of them have a dramatic upward trend of new cases over the last 14 days, and it will likely be a long time yet before these countries return to life as normal.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.