Poll: 73% of workers would leave jobs for a shorter commute

Poll: 73% of workers would leave jobs for a shorter commute

Israeli workers are seeking a way out of the traffic jams they face daily

Illustrative photo of heavy traffic on the highway entering Tel Aviv. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of heavy traffic on the highway entering Tel Aviv. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Traffic is bad in Israel. How bad? Bad enough that nearly three-quarters of Israelis would look for a different job and even take a pay cut just to be able to work closer to home.

These results were reported by a Smith Group poll conducted on behalf of Job Karov, a new free app for iPhone and Android that helps users find jobs in their field based on a number of criteria – with location and commuting options most important.

Job Karov (loosely, A job near by) parses available job data in both public and closed databases in cooperation with several job finding sites and shows available positions relative to the user’s home address or proposed home address, if a relocation is being considered.

Besides the location of the job relative to the home address (including a map showing routes to and from the office, with approximate travel times at various times of the day) the app also shows the locations of schools, shopping, hospitals, leisure facilities, and more. The app is useful not just for job seekers, said Job Karov, but also for employers, who prefer to have someone closer to their office who is less likely to be late due to getting stuck in traffic.

In the US, the rule of thumb for suburban home buyers looking for bargains is to seek out a home within the “one hour” magic circle, on the theory that a home fifty or sixty miles from the city center will be less expensive than one closer in.

In Israel, the “magic circle” would appear to be a no-brainer. For example, Rishon Lezion, a popular bedroom community for workers in Tel Aviv, is barely ten miles away from the center of the city.

Still, a full one third of Israelis spend 90 minutes or more in their cars or on buses commuting to their jobs in each direction, while almost of the rest commute between 60 and 90 minutes. On average, an Israeli will spend a full work week – 40 hours – commuting each year.

What that says about road building policy, suburbanization and urbanization, traffic accidents, and a slew of other issues is for pundits and policymakers to consider – when they have the time, of course – but for the average Israeli commuter, the long commute is an opportunity to ruminate on “what if” – as in what if I could find a job closer to home?

Respondents in the poll of 500 Israelis representing a cross-section of the working population were asked what they considered most important when deciding on whether to accept a job. Unsurprisingly, a good salary was the most important criterion, with 81% choosing that from a list of possibilities. Social benefits (days off, pensions contributions, etc.) were mentioned by 50% of respondents. However, nearly a third of respondents also chose “proximity of the workplace to my residence,” while 14% said that transportation – either organized company transport, or a company car – were essential to their decision about whether or not to take a job. In addition, the poll showed, 50% of respondents said that they had given up a job opportunity they would have otherwise taken because it would have required them to be on the road too long.

According to the poll, 60% of Israeli commuters get to their job by car, while 30% take the bus (the rest travel on organized corporate transports, ride their bikes, or walk) and strikingly, 90% of all Israelis who work outside the home say they are spending far too much time on the road getting to and from work, the poll said. Traffic is so bad, said 73% of respondents, that they would be willing to give up salary and benefits to take another job closer to home – if they could be guaranteed a commute of a half hour or less.

The poll, said David Alfassy, ​founder and CEO of Job Karov, shows that “geographical distance is becoming more of a key consideration when choosing the workplace. But a long commute is not a ‘life sentence,’ and our app puts the issue of job location – proximity to the office, schools, services, and everything else users need – at the center of a job search, considering what a quality of life issue commuting has become in recent years.”

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