THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
Monday, 10 December 2012 08:08
Fly-in, fly-out workers believe their employers do not care about their wellbeing and do not feel valued for their contribution to a lucrative industry, new research suggests.
Preliminary findings from an ongoing Murdoch University study found that FIFO workers generally did not have an emotional attachment to their employer and that companies failed to foster a strong sense of belonging.
Libby Brook, of Murdoch University's school of psychology, said a survey of 223 FIFO workers found many did not feel their needs were being met and there was a sense of ambiguity around how well they felt their company supported them.
Murdoch University's Graeme Ditchburn said the research indicated the level of support given to employees was important in terms of job satisfaction and commitment.
"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," he said.
Another survey of 245 FIFO workers and 314 partners revealed fewer than 50 per cent were aware of the resources and support available and even fewer had used them.
"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," Mrs Brook said.
Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Reg Howard-Smith welcomed the research, which revealed that FIFO workers based their employment choices on similar factors to other employees. "Factors such as supervisor or manager relationships, employee support, along with impact on families and partners are matters all employees take into account in deciding career options," he said.
Dr Ditchburn and Mrs Brook agreed that early research from the study was challenging the perception that FIFO workers were motivated only by money.
Dr Ditchburn said 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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