Contributors to worker induced job separation in fly?in/fly?out work arrangements; evidence from Northern Australia

Josephine Pryce, Hurriyet Babacan, Anna Blackman, Peter Case, Lynne Eagle, David Low, Paul Lynch, Gianna Moscardo, Laurie Murphy, Riccardo Welters

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)peer-review


Population centres in Northern Australia concentrate along the coast line (the cities of Darwin and Broome in the west and Cairns and Townsville in the east), while the inland region exhibits small villages/towns scattered across space. However, the inland area is also rich in mineral resources. Given the small sized populations in the inland regions, local labour markets are too thin for the extractive industries to rely on finding qualified personnel. To meet their human resources requirements, the extractive industries have to draw workers from the dense labour markets in the coastal cities and subsequently develop fly?in/fly?out arrangements to interested city workers. Notwithstanding the attractive remuneration packages that the extractive industries offer, they struggle to meet their human resources needs through recruitment from city workers interested in fly?in/fly-out work in the extractive industry. In light of these recruitment difficulties, the extractive industry's retention policies are of crucial importance. This paper will focus on the drivers of worker induced job separation. We exploit a unique data set of nearly 500 workers who (1) reside in either Cairns or Townsville (we surveyed fly?in/fly?out workers both at Cairns and Townsville Airport), (2) work elsewhere in Australia in the extractive industries and industries associated with the extractive industries (mainly construction) and (3) commute to work by plane. The written survey was conducted over a four week period in October / November 2012. Besides a comprehensive set of demographic information, we collected information about their job (including type of contract, occupation, work roster, shift length and remuneration levels), educational background, their work experience (in and outside the extractive industries and as a fly?in/fly?out worker), quality of onsite accommodation, and their actual and desired intensity of social interaction with family and friends, while both at home and at work. Furthermore we asked to rate the percent chance they would voluntarily leave their current job within the next 12 months, which we use as an indicator of the likelihood of worker induced job separation. The findings from this paper are especially relevant to human resources departments of mining companies and policy makers attempting to create city hubs for fly?in/fly?out workers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Symposium: Contemporary issues in long‐distance commute work in the extractive industries and other sectors - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 8 Jul 201310 Jul 2013


ConferenceInternational Symposium


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