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New app hailed as 'Airbnb' for jobs

By SmartCoverage Team on May 15th, 2018

A Toronto-based app is changing the game for employers looking for temporary workers, with the adoption of an “Airbnb” style system.

Hyr, which currently is targeted towards the hospitality industry, allows workers of all skill levels to create a profile with skill level, preferred pay and even a photo. It then allows the restaurant to select a worker they think will fit the job role they have on offer.

Much like popular apps, such as ride-share service Uber, both the worker and the restaurant can rate each other, which will help build a realistic reviewing system for other users to see.

Since its launch in February 2017, approximately 300 restaurants across the GTA, and more than 5,000 workers have logged on to benefit from the technology.

"We've grown exponentially," the app's co-founder, Erika Mozes told CBC. "The first demand for it really came from workers because ... this new economy and the way that people want to be able to make money when they want to make money. We’re kind of the Airbnb for hourly paid work.”

Although the app does take a cut of the worker’s pay between 18 and 30%, Mozes says that most users come out with an average pay for industry workers in the city.

However, the future of the app is being questioned by researchers at MaRS Discovery District, who are interested to see how it will protect its workers.

"What's really interesting about Hyr is that it speaks to a very interesting demographic that allows them to gain experience, fund what they want to do and … helps them find a path forward," said Krista Jones, managing director of Work and Learning at MaRS.

"I think contingent work is a permanent part of what work looks like in the future ... it's what people want as well as how our business models are evolving."

Jones does point out, though, that Hyr is missing certain policies that make up “the Canadian way of life”. Temporary workers using the app may miss out on policies such as short- and long-term disability benefits and insurance.

In a bid to tackle this grey area, Hyr does provide its own unique system to offer benefits to its users. For every dollar earned, users receive a point. Once they have collected a certain number of points they can exchange these for a paid sick day or vacation day.

"Hopefully, by the end of this year, instead of a vacation day we're going to partner with an insurance provider so they can get health or dental benefits or insurance," Mozes said.

Hyr is currently live in Toronto and New York City, but the app’s creators have plans to expand into other cities by 2019.

They also aim to further their offering to cover Toronto's retail market later in the month, and Mozes believes it has a bright future in several other sectors too.

"As we grow we're going to be adding more skills," Mozes said. "Whether you're working at a gym, you're working in a retail place, you're working in a hospitality place ... we really see that expansion into the future."

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