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Rising Fuel Costs Raising Employer Concerns

It’s no secret that companies across the country are feeling the burn of the current fuel crisis. With oil prices setting new records daily and gas prices of $12 predicted as “inevitable,” many companies are being forced to take extreme measures in order to make up for rapidly increasing company costs.

American Airlines, the nation’s largest carrier, has announced that they will begin charging $15 for your first checked bag, in addition to cutting flights and staff. According to, some Pa. trucking companies are even spending more on fuel costs than on drivers’ wages.

While employers are grappling with higher fuel costs, they are also worrying about keeping employees on their payroll. Higher fuel costs mean a pricier work commute for employees – and may make the grass of finding a new job at a closer-to-home company all the greener for frustrated workers.

In response, some employers are proactively working to alleviate the pain felt by their employees – and they may be setting a trend.

As I was reading the news this morning, I came across an interesting Chicago Sun-Times article highlighting the results of a survey by Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, Inc. Fifty-seven percent of the HR execs surveyed reported that their companies are offering programs to alleviate employee commuting costs, and 23 percent are offering condensed or shortened workweeks.

Many companies are subsidizing the costs of public transportation, organizing car pools, and, as Sarah J. Needleman writes on Wall Street Journal Blogs, adding bonuses into their employees’ paychecks. Other companies with the means to do so are providing “free rides” – by buying vans or buses to shuttle workers to and from the office.

More creative tactics include beefing up benefits like fitness club or store membership discounts, and employees are also taking advantage of existing benefits that weren’t as important to them before.

Is your own business experiencing morale or retention issues as a result of the price of fuel? Have you implemented any employee rewards/alleviation programs or thought about taking steps to ease the transition for them? Would you like to help your employees, but are on a tight budget and need creative, low-cost ideas? Let us know.

Amy K. McDonnell

About Amy K. McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the editorial manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.


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