Travelling to and from work is a natural fact of life. Unless you run your own business from home or have a work from home arrangement with your employer, everyone has to travel in some form or another. Whether you walk, run, ride, drive or catch public transport, depends on your lifestyle and also your location in relation to where your employer is.

There are some horror stories of traveling long distances to work that I’ve come across over the years. Closest to home was my fiancée who had to drive an hour each way from Tamworth to Gunnedah for 2 years. This may not seem like a lot but in regional NSW passing cattle, hay and/or cotton trucks it saw her have 3 windscreens replaced and 2 other cracks form from rocks being flicked up. (Thankfully she paid the extra $60/year for no excess windscreen cover!)

Our Group Manager of Business Development travels from Kingscliff a few days every week battling the constant congestion and road rage. Needless to say, she now has over 400,000km on her car and is considering trading in for an electric car due to the fuel prices!

Another story a little further from home is with our remote resourcing team based in Manila, who all work from home to save them the commute into the CBD. Rumour has it a commute from some areas of Manila into the heart of the city can take up to 3 hours! Not to mention the state of the roads and public transport in the Philippines aren’t nearly as good as we are lucky enough to have in Australia. That may surprise some of you who like to complain about our infrastructure here.

From some of my conversations, though, it does seem there are a lot of people in this city (Brisbane) who are reluctant to travel and dare I say, cross the river in order to potentially get to their next role. Here at Optimum, we speak to a lot of people who are currently in the job market either passively or very actively and the organisation’s location is now one of the first information points that I cover with candidates. This can quite easily rule out candidates and save me from wasting the candidate’s time on a role that they aren’t interested in.

My colleague in Manila found a candidate who was looking for a new position and was based on the South side of Brisbane, who was suitable for a role that I was working on, which was based in Geebung (North side of Brisbane for those of you not familiar). My colleague from Manila asked if the candidate was suitable and should he contact them, to which I replied, “They are a great candidate, exactly what we’re looking for but I don’t think they’ll travel to Geebung”. He rightfully pointed out that the trip according to Google maps was no more than 35 minutes each way “In current traffic”. I re-iterated my point that I didn’t think that they would travel as they would need to cross the river and travel through or around the CBD. Sure enough, the candidate all but laughed at my colleague as that was “way too far to travel”.

I often wonder what is in that river and why people are so afraid to cross it. I understand work-life balance is incredibly important and a long commute can not only eat into this time but also affect your performance due to putting a strain on a candidate’s personal life, although in a competitive and patchy job market I often think that sometimes sacrifices need to be considered. If the role turns out to be a fantastic opportunity that grows your career, enhances your skill set and offers great internal opportunities for progression, would a candidate not consider moving closer to the office?

I can appreciate the fact that I am renting a property in Brisbane and don’t have children so restrictions around mortgages and kids’ schools don’t apply to me at the moment, however, I am astounded by people’s constant lack of willingness to travel for their careers. I often joke that if I am speaking with a candidate who is willing to cross the river or travel more than 40 minutes they probably aren’t born and bred in Brisbane! Although this is a bit of a generalisation, it has proven to be correct more often than not.

Perhaps this will give some people something more to consider when weighing up your next job opportunity….. Are you missing out on the job of a lifetime for an easier commute?

Isaac Dufficy – Executive Consultant; Group Solutions

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