Big bucks not the only lure for FIFO workers

Job satisfaction and work conditions are more of a concern to fly-in fly-out workers than high salaries, according to new research from Edith Cowan University.

The team of researchers, led by Professor Alan Brown, investigated staff turnover within the iron ore industry, an area they said had previously received "no major research".

In a statement Brown said "anecdotal evidence" suggested turnover in FIFO mining operations was between 15 to 25 per cent, and was expected to rise higher as demand increased.

Previous study by the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy has marked the attrition rate for FIFO workers at one in three within a year.

Brown said early findings from the ECU study had been unexpected and "went against public perception that FIFO workers were only in it for the money".

"Our initial findings have shown that many people enter into this type of employment with a long-term career goal," he said.

"Money is not the driving factor we thought it would be. In fact FIFO work is seen as an opportunity to further develop careers within the mining industry."

On a five point scale, five being the highest, FIFO workers marked training and workforce camaraderie as the highest concerns, and pay levels among some of the lowest.

The study showed FIFO workers:

  • Don’t think of leaving due to money – 3.21
  • Strongly agreed they’re in the industry for their long term career – 4.10
  • Strongly agree the availability of training influences them staying in mining – 4.03
  • Feel very strongly that getting along with colleagues is important – 4.52

Image: The Resource Channel

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