Main image of article What the Gig Economy Pays H-1B Technologists: Uber, Airbnb, and More

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, gig-economy firms such as Uber have struggled at moments to find their footing. With customers trapped inside and curtailing their spending, tech firms specializing in everything from food delivery to ridesharing have figured out how to adjust—and to stop bleeding revenue, in many cases.

In other words, it’s a key time for innovative technologists at these companies to step up and help figure out the route forward. Back in March, we examined how much a select group of gig-economy companies paid their technologists (answer: quite a bit, in many cases). Now let’s break out what Uber, Lyft, and other firms pay their workers on the H-1B visa.

To figure this out, we turned to the H-1B Salary Database, which indexes the Labor Condition Application (LCA) disclosure data from the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Here’s what it gave back as the median H-1B salary at the following prominent gig-economy firms; as you can see, the pay is comfortably above the average U.S. technologist salary of $94,000:

As usual for our H-1B breakdowns, there are some big caveats here. First, many tech firms rely on business-services and contracting firms to supply H-1B subcontractors, who can be paid at a lower rate than a full-time employee. For instance, at Accenture, the median H-1B salary is $96,366, while at Tata, it’s $68,000; at Capgemini, it’s $89,918. That’s far less than the numbers you’re seeing for the directly-sourced H-1B workers in the visualization above.

All that being said, H-1B workers at gig-economy firms don’t make appreciably less than those at some of tech’s biggest firms. Here’s another breakdown from the H-1B Salary Database, this one of Google and similar firms (it’s also specific to software developers):

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the U.S. government is radically adjusting the H-1B program (along with other immigration policies). In June, President Trump issued an order temporarily banning H-1Bs. The following month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would adjust fees for the H-1B and other visas. When viewed against a backdrop of skyrocketing application and renewal denials, it’s clear that the H-1B could change radically over the next few years (depending on who wins the election, of course).