Have FIFO workers been forgotten?

by Stephanie Zillman10 Dec 2012

New research suggests Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) workers believe they are forgotten employees, and that their contribution goes unrecognised by their employers.

An ongoing study from Murdoch University found that FIFO workers lack an emotional attachment to their employer, and this is in part because companies fail to foster a sense of belonging. “From an organisational perspective, companies need to be looking at how they can empower managers and supervisors to support their employees more efficiently and effectively,” Graeme Ditchburn from Murdoch University said.

“A number of companies have made major efforts to improve their support for FIFOs but our study shows more needs to be done to inform workers of what is available,” Libby Brook, from Murdoch University's school of psychology, added.

A central issue may lie in the communication of the employee value proposition (EVP). A separate study of FIFO workers recently found that fewer than 50% of workers were aware of the resources and support available and fewer still had used them. In that study, personal supports such as family, friends and workers, support websites and groups were rated as highest in terms of usefulness.

Ditchburn said that early research from the study has challenged the perception that FIFO workers are primarily motivated by money. Ditchburn also commented that many FIFO workers reported high levels of job satisfaction, which was "often overlooked because there's often a focus on the high salaries to offset the difficult conditions of work".


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