HR Execs Fret about Gas Price Hikes' Effects

August 28, 2006 ( - It is not clear how much comfort this will provide for employees, but a new survey indicates employers are worried about the effect of high gas prices on workers' lives.

A new survey of US human resource executives finds that more than 60% of employers are “extremely” or “very” concerned about the impact of rising fuel and commuting costs on employees, according to the survey by TransitCenter, a non-profit organization supporting the use of mass transit. The group took the survey at a recent national human resources conference.

According to a TransitCenter news release, the survey found that the most common ways employers are helping their employees manage high gas prices are by offering flex-time and telecommuting, offered respectively by 43% and 27% of responding employers.

Other popular options include:

  • encouraging carpools (16%),
  • offering tax-free commuter benefits (15%),
  • facilitating vanpools (11%), and
  • increased employee compensation (9%).

One in five respondents say they are planning to take additional steps to help their employees manage, with 32% planning to add a commuter benefits program, according to the announcement.

Responding employers also expressed concerns about the long-term harm their firms could suffer in recruitment, employee retention, morale and wage inflation:

  • 72% of human resource professionals express concern that rising costs will affect employee salaries.
  • 63% of those surveyed worry about managing additional costs associated with new efforts to help their employees.
  • 60% foresee greater difficulty in hiring qualified employees.
  • 59% say they are worried that rising costs will spur employees to seek jobs closer to home.
  • Nearly half of respondents (49%) believe that the growing burden on employees will lead to reduced morale.
  • 42% expect increased absenteeism.

A copy of the full report is available upon request by contacting Charles Kim at .