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Labour turnover in the fly-in fly-out mining industry in WA

The primary aim of this research is to explore the factors which are responsible for employee turnover in the fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) mining industry in Western Australia.

Apart from seeking to find the most important factors which are likely to result in employee turnover, the research also explores how these relate to various personal and organisational characteristics.

Research questions

  • What factors contribute to industry turnover (employees leaving the mining industry) amongst FIFO employees?
  • What factors contribute to company exit (employees leaving the company for an industry competitor) amongst FIFO employees? 

Research methods

The research takes a phased approach. Initially, the importance of the key turnover indicators identified from a review of previous generic literature on turnover and retention was verified through focus groups run with Human Resources (HR) representatives from iron ore mining.  

Analysis of the focus group information along with the literature resulted in the development of a questionnaire identifying the factors which the companies involved in the study considered to be most important in determining retention and/or turnover intentions amongst their workforces. This survey was discussed with several piloted organisations and modifications incorporated. 

The sample for this study will be drawn from mining companies who have FIFO operations. The questionnaires will be distributed to FIFO employees via the companies. Participation is voluntary and confidential with no identification of individuals.  


  • Professor Alan Brown, Lead Chief Investigator
  • Ms Glenda Scott, Chief Investigator 
  • Dr Helen Sitlington, Chief Investigator
  • Dr Pattanee Susomrith, Chief Investigator 

Industry partners

  • Various mining companies participating in the research

Funding body

  • Faculty of Business and Law, Strategic Research Grant


The project commenced mid 2012 and is due to conclude December 2013.

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