Did you know that over half of those working in the Resource sector in Australia are FIFO (Fly In, Fly Out) workers (according to fifofacts.com.au)? Available roles vary greatly, from engineers and geologists, to tradespeople, to accountants. The mining sector utilizes FIFO to attract skilled and unskilled workers to site without the need for the worker or the worker’s family to move permanently. While FIFO work isn’t for everyone, it can open doors for fresh graduates in their field, and can suit those who like routine and who aren’t afraid of long hours for the big dollars. I spoke to Shane, a long time FIFO worker, to discuss the pros and cons of this kind of work.
The biggest appeal of FIFO work is the pay, with many positions earning 6 figures in their first year alone, but for many the benefits go beyond this. Shane initially began FIFO work in the mining sector to get ahead financially, but he says he also enjoys the free use of the gym facilities on many sites, and more importantly the comradery he has amongst his friends. He enjoys a hearty meal and a laugh in the mess hall after a long day’s work, with many roles requiring long hours. Furthermore, Shane loves having his room cleaned for him; a fact that Shane says takes some of the stress out of working such long hours. He is able to dedicate the time he is not working to relaxing and of course getting a good night’s sleep.
Its isn’t always easy though, being away from his family is the hardest part, and at times has posed a serious challenge for Shane. A large portion of Australian FIFO workers have a partner and/or children they leave at home, often for weeks at a time making it hard to schedule family events such as birthdays and weddings. Shane is lucky to have a supportive family and while it can be hard, he sees how the financial benefits outweigh the negatives for his family. Most of the time long hours and the rural settings, often with harsh weather and dry dusty air don’t bother Shane, but on those days when he is feeling the distance between himself and his family, these small things can prove difficult. Shane chooses to stay positive and has learnt to treasure his time at home, and takes no small moment with his family for granted in a way he never did before his FIFO work.
Shane’s best advice is to embrace the routine, and to take comfortable socks! The experience, the people and the dollars he has earnt make Shane a big advocate for FIFO work. If you would like to discuss FIFO opportunities, or other roles in the mining sector, contact me on 0434 192 993 or email your CV through to Melissa.Heath@reach4.com.au