We work hard to provide our readers with blueprints for international career success that are both practical and replicable. When we find up-and-coming or established companies that appear to be excellent launchpads for young Gen Y professionals, we scramble to write about them. Today we’ll be answering the question: how hard is it to get a job at Uber?
We’ll be taking a look at Uber, the urban transportation phenomenon that is sweeping the globe and continuing to attract huge investment from important financial players. The company has seen revenues rise ten-fold in 12 months and launched services in seven cities since January.
Just a few seconds’ research told us that Uber is hiring people thick and fast, across a wide range of countries and in every major department. A start-up environment; a wealth of entrepreneurial opportunity; a balance between technology and on-the-ground services. In other words, the perfect 21st century enterprise. But let’s not count our chickens before they’ve hatched! Read on to find out what makes Uber tick – and, more importantly, what it means for you.
What’s On Offer
First up: a bit about Uber – in case you’re not quite up to speed on urban mobility. Essentially, Uber harnesses the potential of mobile apps and connectivity to provide a speedy, customisable, and above all trustworthy way to be driven from A to B by partner drivers in over 70 cities. Founded in 2009, the company has been expanding and evolving at a tremendous pace. Think Airbnb with wheels. It’s simple, but effective: you tell the app where A and B are, how you’d like to get from one to the other (Prius, taxi, SUV, luxury sedan), how many friends you’re bringing along and Uber’s servers will do the rest.
So, Uber provides a relatively simple service through making the best possible use of modern technologies. That’s all well and good, but what do they do with their people? In fact, who are their people? Well, a quick glance at the Uber careers page gives us some insight into who they’re looking for right now. Beneath the recruitment jargon, three main points stand out.
First, Uber needs globetrotters: people able to see the big picture; to understand how the business affects people from Calcutta to New York and Bogotá to Addis Ababa. But in many cases, specific local knowledge if equally valuable. Such a highly networked company needs both local insights and lateral thinking to function properly across cultures, geographies, languages and economies. If you’ve got both of these attributes, chances are you’re exactly what Uber is looking for.
Second, they need people who are unafraid to drive change, to stand up to existing models. In keeping with Uber’s startup image, wallflowers aren’t going to make much of an impact. Having great ideas is simply not enough; Uber’s employees will have to actively challenge the status quo to make their mark – though if they succeed, the potential for influencing company decisions is huge.
Lastly – and this is vital – Uber is looking for passion as well as talent. This means that they want people willing to invest time and effort, in the long term, into bringing the company vision to fruition. Be careful: recruiters are wary of those intending to use a junior position as a stepping stone to a ‘better’ career elsewhere (and, whatever you may believe, it’s very easy to spot them).
Not an easy profile to live up to. Even so, Uber is building up teams in every department – engineering, design, community, operations, international expansion, business development, HR and more. What’s more, there are positions available practically everywhere. Let’s take a look at a couple of them to see what all the fuss is about.
I. Community Managers – (Literally) Worldwide
The role of Community Manager is an excellent illustration of what Uber is looking for: initiative, internationalism, dynamism and above all, the ability to adapt to local conditions. Demand for community managers has skyrocketed over the past couple of years as direct engagement with customers and clients across myriad social and professional networks moves closer to the heart of business development. If you’ve got language skills, love getting your hands dirty and approach life with vim and vigour, it all adds up.
As it happens, at the time of writing Uber are advertising no less than 76 different Community Manager positions, across six continents. What an opportunity! If you’re looking to work abroad and have the qualities Uber is seeking, this could be a great place to kickstart an international career. Want to work in Johannesburg, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Paris, Sydney, Bogotá, Beijing, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Manila, even Tijuana? Chances are you’ve dreamed about living in at least two of them. I know I have.
II. Creators and Designers
Uber are currently advertising a number of positions suitable for skilled young graduates keen on making a start in a fascinating industry. As online learning resources continue to proliferate, digital skills are almost stupidly easy to acquire these days. Web design, interface design, app development, graphic design, copywriting, digital marketing, content marketing – you name it. Equip yourself with the tools to understand and shape the digital sphere, and you’re on the gravy train. Uber are looking for people in all of these areas to ensure that their user experience and the way in which i tis communicated remains at the cutting edge.
So What’s the Catch?
The dynamism of a startup. The international opportunities of an established corporation. And possibly the most profitable ‘big idea’ of the coming years. What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything. Which isn’t to say it will. Here’s how Uber measures up on career review site Glassdoor.
It is immediately clear that working for Uber won’t allow you to rest on your laurels. As one of the fastest-growing companies out there, there’s a huge buzz in the air and the creative juices are constantly flowing. Reviewers commend the enthusiasm and drive of their colleagues. Problems arise and are solved in the same breath, and results are almost instantaneous. Initiative is applauded and political manoeuvring is eschewed in favour of constantly improving what the company delivers to its customers. Perhaps most interestingly, one employee say his old ‘friends’ had all simultaneously got back in touch since Uber hit the front pages. Strange…
Now for the bad news. Well, only if you decide to see it that way. Hand-in-hand with the startup philosophy comes a nose-to the grindstone work ethic. Each city is run by a tight-knit team that can regularly work extremely long hours. To thrive, you’d have to love what you were doing, particularly given the tendency for management in fast-growing startups to be in some disarray. Focus and commitment are the order of the day. Don’t expect to be home by 5. Do be expected to close deals, find business and identify opportunities every single day.
Not surprising in the least, really. Growth, opportunity and flexibility will always come with a price. If won’t be to everyone’s taste – but the potential rewards for producing results under pressure are, frankly, astronomical. In Uber’s case, the opportunities are everywhere, and someone will grasp them. Could you be that person?