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  Rising Gas Prices Impact Recruiting and Retention

Will flexible employers be the ultimate winners in the war for talent now that gas prices are in the stratosphere? Employers offering transportation subsidies, telecommuting options, and virtual office arrangements may be wooing the best and the brightest candidates right now, even without the highest salaries and biggest relocation budgets in the marketplace.

It isnt unusual to find employees driving 50, 75, even 100 miles each way to work and that can cost them $5,000 a year just in gas, says Chuck Wilsker, president and CEO of the Telework Coalition, a Washington DC-based organization that supports telework options.

When telecommuting is an option, it eliminates the geographic recruiting boundaries and increases the pool of prospective candidates. I have heard of specific situations where employers have been able to offer 15% less salary, simply because the employee will no longer need to absorb the daily commute cost.

Employees who commute 30 miles or more to work are likely to turn-over at higher rates now that gas prices have sky-rocketed, according to Wilsker, and it will only get worse when the job market and the economy rebound. If more firms begin offering telecommuting options to appease employees, the competition for top talent will literally have no boundaries, since proximity to the office will no longer be a major recruiting criterion.

In addition, with no ceiling on gas prices projected anytime soon, Wilsker says that commute costs are starting to concern highly skilled employees, not just hourly workers. In the past, employees making $150,000 to $250,000 might not have considered long commutes when weighing an offer, now they are now thinking about it long and hard before accepting.


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