How new migrant Boominthan found work amid a pandemic

By Indira Laisram
Duncan Brett and Boominathan Ramsamy

After studying in Australia, Boominathan Ramsamy, unlike many of his peers, went back to India. Ten years later, the self-employed businessman decided to come back to Sydney ‘for the sake of his children’s studies’.

Boominathan arrived last year at the height of the pandemic. It was, of course, not an easy transition. After trying for several weeks, he and his family managed to secure seats on a flight to Australia in September. “We also had many documents to complete and undergo quarantine for two weeks.”

While in quarantine, Boominathan had to arrange where he was going to live and organise schooling for his children. Making the move in the midst of the pandemic, Boominathan then searched for reliable “Covid-proof” work to sustain his family’s needs during such uncertain economic times. He found that work swiftly through Sherpa, a crowd-sourced, same-day courier company.

Despite his qualifications in business studies and IT, Boominathan took up job with Sherpa in December 2020 to become part of a growing work trend among Australian-Indians in particular, as more and more people turn to the gig economy to earn a living.

This trend has been turbo-charged by the drastic change in working conditions caused by the pandemic.

Boominthan says he chooses when to work and how much to work. He loves this flexibility and has chosen to make his Sherpa work—and work with similar crowd-sourced organisations such as Uber—his full-time employment. So far, he has made more than 1200 deliveries using his own car.

Duncan Brett, Boominathan with team members

His day as a Sherpa worker is highly varied. “I do not know where my first job will be and where I will be finishing for the day. However, I travel to different places, see different sights and, most importantly, meet a lot of people. I am not going to say all this is easy, but the opportunities and potential is enormous.”

Boominthan makes an average of $1,000 a week and he recommends Sherpa to anyone looking for fast and reliable work.

“Gig economy jobs offer several kinds of opportunities which you can do around your existing lifestyle requirements. Flexibility is the name of the game—you can increase or decrease your work load according to your needs. Once you gain experience and invest time, I believe gig economy jobs can be tailored to equal fulltime jobs,” says Boominthan.

More than one million Australians work in the gig-economy, and according to research paper by Actuaries Institute, released in December 2020, the gig-economy in Australia is worth $6.3 billion and growing.

An Aussie Tech disruptor launched by two Aussie blokes from their garage back in 2014, Sherpa has grown into one of Australia’s leading Apps / tech platforms—connecting independent couriers (that is, everyday Aussies) with businesses that need to deliver goods to their customers.

Full van // Sherpa

According to Sherpa CEO Duncan Brett, the company is now more than double the size it was pre COVID-19. “The business was already in a very strong position and growing rapidly, but the pandemic and the shift to online and shoppers wanting their goods on the same-day as purchase really supercharged that growth.”

In the gig economy delivery space, Brett claims Sherpa is the biggest and the best having been voted ‘Best Carrier’ in Australia at last year’s National Online Retailers Association (NORA) awards. This year, Sherpa came runner-up to a non-gig economy carrier.

On the question of safety issues of gig economy workers as talked about in the media, Brett says, “We are very experienced in sensitive items that carry a lot of regulation and specific challenges like medication and alcohol. Our adherence to strict processes and rules sets us apart from the rest.

“With retirees, single mothers and students doing deliveries based on their availability of time, we do not hear anything from our Sherpas about being “unprotected”. We hear it gives them the flexibility to work and earn cash when they want to and to their own terms.”

For Boominthan, working for Sherpa is a long-term proposition.

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