People are not limited to being employed within their own community, nor are local businesses required to hire from within their tax-paying jurisdiction. In fact, many companies will make a point of filling their payroll with employees from a variety of postal codes in order to bring diversity to their organization. As ridiculous as this sounds, our local university, for example, gives preference to candidates who are graduates from other post-secondary institutions in the hiring process for that exact reason. So for all the pomp-and-circumstance that city council made during the recent election process about attracting and supporting businesses in to the municipality in order to increase local employment opportunities, unless city hall is able to require that businesses hire from our local candidate pool, businesses will do little for our local economics other than contribute to the city’s tax base in exchange for consuming our local resources.
Think I’m wrong? Let’s suppose that Fictitious Company sets up a new Western Distribution Centre on the edge of town. City council has allowed some expedited rezoning applications through to facilitate this development as Fictitious Co. is international and is reputed for repeatedly winning Awesome Employer awards on a regular basis. Our little city will be so blessed to have them chose us!
Fictitious Co. sends in its own team of architects and engineers because they are responsible for designing and building the Western Distribution Centre to look exactly like the Eastern Distribution Centre and the Northern Distribution Centre and the…well, you get the idea. The Senior Architect has had a long term working relationship with Handy Joe General Contracting from Back East and trusts him to fulfil the construction requirements on the WDC no different than he did on the EDC and the NDC and…you get the idea; consequently, Handy Joe is flown in to spearhead the ground-breaking.
A quarter of a million dollars spent on wages thus far by Fictitious Co. and has any local talent yet been hired? If you answered no you would be wrong – the cab was hired to drive the employees from the airport to the hotel. The cab driver collected $10.00 in fare, of which he gets to keep 40% so when combined with the generous $5.00 tip from his passengers, he is able to provide his family with a jug of milk, a loaf of bread and…maybe a half dozen bananas.
Ah, but what of the other economic spin-offs, like the hotels and the restaurants? Fictitious Co., being an international business, has an established partnership with the hospitality chain Worldwide Comfortable Hotels that, coincidentally, has locations in virtually all major centres that Fictitious Co. has distribution centres or principal offices. Worldwide Comfortable Hotels is notorious for employing locals and compensates them competitively; the chamber staff earns slightly better than their minimum-wage counterparts at other local hotels and the wait staff working at the in-house restaurants are privileged to serve the higher-tipping clientele.
Unfortunately for both the cabbie and the hotel staff, Fictitious Co. provides corporate credit cards for these types of expenditures, so their respective gratuity incomes are subject to a 5% penalty by Major Credit Card and, because those tips are processed through their payroll departments, the remaining 95% are subject to payroll deductions as mandated by the Canada Revenue Agency. The cabbie’s $5.00 tip quickly whittled away to $3.26 (give or take, people – I’m sure there is a senior bookkeeper out there right now with a calculator trying to see if I am wrong) but still, that is money for groceries that the family may not have had otherwise, right? Besides, if the cabbie is lucky, a couple more tips like that and a jar of peanut butter will be sure to grace the shopping cart.
Are these out-of-town, six-figure income high-rollers out and about in our community playing tourist and buying souvenirs for their loved ones back home? Likely not. This is really no different than commuting for you or I and I certainly do not commemorate my commuting experience with memorabilia. Unless there is something rather temptingly unique at the Overpriced Outlet Store in the Airport compounded by a personal motivating factor (ie: spouse’s missed birthday due to the business trip), then any gifts for family are more conveniently purchased on home turf where they do not need to be packed for flight.
Handy Joe makes arrangements for core members of his construction crew from Back East to join him and set up for the duration of the contract. Mr. Joe contacts his buddy at Federal Real Estate Agency in Quebec to provide him with information about who he needs to talk to here about rental accommodations for his crew. Several phone calls later, a couple of local property owners have one-year leases on their investment properties, including generous advanced payment on the rents and what will ultimately end up being non-refundable damage deposits. Mr. Joe scouts out some locals for general labour and hires a company from within the same telephone area code to come in and prepare the site. Coincidentally, two of the $12/hr labourers and one of the equipment operators actually live in the same town as his new project – Handy Joe likes to make good use of the local talent.
Since Handy Joe has a corporate account with National Building Supply Company, naturally he is disappointed to discover that there isn’t an immediately available outlet but is relieved to find one in the neighbouring municipality that would be able to supply him with all of the tools and materials he and his crew will require to complete the project. It’s just so much easier to simply order the Fictitious Co.’s specific line of finishing products than to have to go to the trouble of having certain things customized by a local shop – like particular paint colours, for example. Joe has worked with Senior Architect long enough to know that all of Fictitious Co.’s Distribution Centres have to present exactly the same, according to the established policies of head office Back East.
As construction progresses, Fictitious Co.’s Project Manager from Back East manages every detail of the project and decides to invest in a Project Assistant. A reputable Big City Recruiting Agency with offices in several Provincial Capital Cities is contacted and a posting is advertised throughout the area that the agency serves. Of the numerous applicants for the position, the chosen candidate living in the Big City catchment area is hired and begins the daily forty-five minute commute to and from the location of the WDC.
Meanwhile, Back East Executives begin the daunting task of assembling the necessary team of employees to staff the new WDC, scheduled to open in a few short months. Internal job postings are distributed by the Human Resources Department through the existing payroll of employees, soliciting applications for the new West Coast location. Relocation bonuses are offered and not surprisingly, HR is inundated with interested parties. As selection of staff for the WDC progresses, positions become available at the EDC and the NDC and…you get the idea, so additional hiring in those areas occurs simultaneously.
A Well-Known National Moving and Cartage Co. (with its head office in close proximity to Fictitious Co.) is contracted to pack, haul and resituate the Management Team relocating from Back East. Again, the Federal Real Estate Agency provides listing information on the local housing market and the transactions for everyone’s new accommodations are settled before the first boxes are even packed. Dozens of families are transported across the country, children are enrolled in available private schools in the area and spouses resign themselves to re-establishing their career paths in a foreign job market.
Throughout this construction process, the nearby Popular Coffee Chain experiences an increase in business and hires a couple more part-time employees to cover the morning rush but with fluency in English not being a requirement for those positions, the drive thru line ups do not move any faster in the mornings. As a result, the surge in morning customer demand subsides as the regulars find alternative locations and the Popular Coffee Chain reduces the number of shifts at that location. The new WDC’s convenient location with Easy Highway Access is appreciated by the majority of commuting workers who can readily come and go from work to home without having to navigate their way through the community, and otherwise contribute to the local traffic congestion.
Nearing completion, Fictitious Co. ships out a team of professionals that will ensure that the entire building is outfitted and ready for operation. The Lead Designer orders furniture and finishings from the same Old Time Merchant that supplies all of their other locations in order to maintain the consistency between all of the Fictitious Co.’s locations. All materials are drop-shipped to the Main Terminal in the Big City and Big City Cartage is contracted to deliver the shipments to the WDC. A Reputable Landscaping Company, recommended by the manager of the National Building Supply Company and also based in the neighbouring municipality, is contracted to install the landscaping as per the specifications set out by Fictitious Co.’s head office policies.
A Hiring Fair is organized and advertisements are posted with the Big City Recruiting Agency stipulating that a vehicle is required for the available positions due to a lack of accessibility by transit, but emphasizes that the new WDC is handily situated with easy highway access both east and westbound. Starting wages are listed at a dollar an hour more than other employers with a benefit package for full time employees available after a probationary three month period. Fictitious Co. could only guarantee about twenty hours per week per employee for the first few months until the WDC became fully established in the supply chain with most of the warehouse positions to be on an on-call basis. Nonetheless, the Big City Recruiting Agency is flooded with applications for the available positions and opts to raise the minimum qualifications in order to eliminate the majority of candidates. Some of the select few chose to commit to a regime of commuting from neighbouring communities despite the initial low rates of monthly remuneration – only one future employee is able to ride their bike to and from work.
The day of the official grand opening of Fictitious Co.’s new Western Distribution Centre sees many VIPs in attendance, including the Mayor of the Community who in his welcoming speech to the new business, proudly expounds on the wonderful employment opportunities that Fictitious Co. has provided to the Community. The local Media publishes articles in the Community Newspaper about the multi-million dollar construction project that provided hundreds of jobs and the continued operation of the WDC that would see long-term employment opportunities with a company that utilizes a “promote from within” philosophy. The photos in the newspapers show smiling faces and the headlines proclaim “Locally Owned and Operated”.