Last week, things heated up in the Middle East, unfortunately in more ways than one. As a result, crude oil catapulted above $78.00 a barrel, while Canadians, along with the rest of the world, squirmed at gas pumps.
Unlike Europe, North Americans have created their lives around cars. Particularly if you live outside big cities and far away from good public transit systems, your life is completely dependent on driving. You need a car to buy groceries, take the kids to hockey practice, and most importantly, get to work.
According to a study done by Robert Half International Inc., an employment agency, 82% of Canadian employers have decided to help out their employees with considerable pains as of late at gas pumps. This move is partly motivated with employers’ desire to boost the morale and partly to stop quality people from leaving for jobs closer to home.
What exactly are Canadian employers doing? According to the survey, 62% of respondents increased payments for job-related mileage costs, 32% offered their employees an option to work from home and telecommute, while 31% are relocating employees to offices closer to where they live. On the other side of the spectrum are 18% of employers that did nothing to alleviate their employees’ pricey fill-ups, although six percent of them acknowledge something would have to be done if gas prices keep on going up.
In addition, 16% of employers are organizing carpooling at work, while 12% are providing internally organized employee transportation services. Also, 14% of employers are giving their employees salary increases to offset money spent on commuting, while ten percent are paying outright for the commute. Finally, seven percent of employers are paying public transit fares for those who can use the transit system, as opposed to drive to work.
With crude oil hitting record high prices, the Canadian employment landscape is rapidly changing. People are either looking for jobs closer to home, or moving to homes closer to work. On Canadian highways, just a driver in a car has become a rarity. These days, it is more likely to see cars with three or more passengers. Finally, with the world turning into a global village, telecommuting has become a more economic way to deal with also increasing overhead costs, as well as skyrocketing gas prices.