There are more than 100,000 FIFO workers in Australia, flying to remote work sites for mining and oil and gas projects.
1) FIFO meaning
FIFO stands for Fly-in fly-out. It is a word used by mining and offshore industries to describe jobs that employ people in remote places by flying them to work sites on a regular basis rather than permanently moving personnel and their families. This is common in large mining regions in Australia. Because of the high demand for these kinds of jobs, the term has entered common parlance. Mining, Oil and Gas and construction companies employ the majority of FIFO workers.
2) What is FIFO work?
Any job that requires you to fly to a remote location for several days or weeks of work before returning home for a period of time off is referred to as FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) work. FIFO workers look after our country’s resources and remote communities in a variety of industries, from mining to aviation.
3) How do you get started in FIFO work without prior experience?
The majority of jobs are technical and would require you to hold licences depending on the position. In-demand positions include driller, mechanic, electrician, carpenter, plumber, engineer, driver, machine operator and more. Those positions would typically require you to have experience in your field before you start working remotely.
One of the best ways to get into FIFO work is to have connections and know other people that can vouch for you or keep an eye out for job offers. Make sure you update your resume so that it showcases the skills and qualifications you have that are relevant to the position.
If you are not working in a technical field you can also get jobs as a FIFO employee. At remote work sites, executives, cooks, cleaners, and nurses are also essential for operations to keep working smoothly.
Many jobs for inexperienced workers are available in roles that require long hours and are physically demanding. Driving vehicles and carrying heavy equipment are examples of entry-level jobs. Although some employers do not require you to have experience, if you work in the mines, you must complete an induction course to ensure you understand the safety protocols.
4) What kinds of FIFO jobs are available?
As a FIFO worker, you can choose from a variety of occupations and professions. Here are a few examples:
- Entry-level jobs : Labourer, Trade assistants
- Technical jobs: Driller, Concreter, Carpenter, Electrician, Plumber, Machine operator
- Hospitality jobs (all-rounders are highly regarded): Cook, chef, housekeeper, dishwasher. Entry-level hospitality roles might require you to undertake several different tasks like basic food preparation, cleaning and waste management.
You could also enrol into an apprenticeship while doing FIFO work, you just have to make sure that you are able to come back for your training blocks or find a provider that offers flexible self-paced training.
5) The Life of a FIFO Worker
A FIFO worker’s life is unique and challenging; some people enjoy it, and others don’t. It has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Following are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a FIFO employee:
- Good salary: FIFO work usually pays well. Although the work is demanding, you will be rewarded with a lucrative salary. The higher your salary, the more you will be taxed so make sure you check if that is worth it for you.
- Live Anywhere: You have the freedom and flexibility to work in a variety of locations without being forced to relocate. Due to skill shortages, mining and other companies are willing to fly workers with skills from almost any location.
- Extra Benefits: It is easier to save money when all your meals and accommodation are provided. You are usually not spending as much money on-site as you would at home.
- Advancement of your career: You’ll be exposed to a variety of interesting industries, people, and departments. The possibilities for advancement in your career are limitless.
- Better personal life: On your days off, you can rest, relax, and spend time with friends and family without having to think about work. You are having a real break for a set amount of time so you can fully enjoy your time off.
- Long hours: During your shift, you will be working without any days off and usually long hours as companies want to take advantage of the time you are there to get you to work as much as possible. You might be working up to 12-hour days depending on your roster.
- Away from home: Even though remote work sites usually have great facilities with private units known as dongas, and gyms, bars, swimming pools, soccer fields, and tennis courts, the reality is you won’t be going home at the end of the day.
- Away from family and friends for extended periods of time: You will not only be away from family but also from friends and from any habits, you might have at home. Maintaining healthy relationships while being away most of the time may be difficult.
- Hard-working conditions: Remote work sites are usually very well equipped but if the site is located in a harsh environment it will still be challenging. It might be very hot, dusty or humid.
6) In Australia, which state hires the highest number of FIFO workers?
The FIFO industry is fueled by the country’s large resource sector. Many mining companies require a large workforce in remote areas due to the high demand for exports.
Because most FIFO work is done in mines, the state of Western Australia has a lot of opportunities. While there are many job opportunities in Perth, FIFO workers are also in high demand on islands like the Whitsundays, particularly in the hospitality industry. For example, luxury Resorts are always looking for kitchen staff who can fly in and out. FIFO work is a very specific way of life that isn’t suitable for everyone. With that said, for the right person, it’s a very rewarding and worthwhile career choice.
7) Who pays for FIFO worker’s flights?
The employer usually pays directly for the airfares. They might qualify for the remote FIFO worker exemption. They can negotiate a reduction in the worker’s salary package in some scenarios.
8) Are FIFO workers essential workers?
The resources sector is regarded as essential, with eligible FIFO workers permitted to travel within a state and interstate under strict protocols.
FIFO what to pack
- Sim Card – Check if the provider offers connectivity at your remote work site. Usually, Telstra is the best choice as they cover the largest area compared to other mobile networks.
- Medication – Paracetamol, Eye Drops, Band-Aid, Anti-bacterial Wipes, Sunscreen with high SPF.
- Clothing – Casual wear you’d need after work hours. It could be for a gym or when you want to go for a swim. Get your best work socks. A pair of thongs do come in very handy.
- Toiletries – Shampoo and conditioner for your hair, soap, moisturiser, lip balm, toothpaste, pretty much everything you would use at home.
- Washing Powder / Liquid detergent for your laundry (it could be provided in some cases).
- Laptop / Tablet, Additional chargers, extension wires, battery banks. Most sites do provide wireless internet.
- Cash for cool drinks and snacks at the local bar.
- A battery-operated torch can be handy.
- Lunch Pack, water bottle, snacks.
- Containers, mugs and cutlery.
- If you are a bit fussy and you are not sure about what will be provided, bring clean sheets, pillowcases, towels and if required, a mattress topper.
FIFO and mental health
Remote work can isolate a person from normal family life, be exhausting, and be detrimental to a worker’s overall well-being. Some studies have shown there are high levels of mental stress among FIFO workers. Long working hours, changing work schedules, isolation, fatigue and anxiety can be listed as some of the reasons for deteriorating mental health.
However, companies offering FIFO work are helping reduce mental stress with several initiatives such as:
- Providing shorter work shifts when possible
- Having regular rosters when possible
- Training higher management & workers to support each other
- Creating an enjoyable work culture
- Providing job security & autonomy
- Better accommodation and recreation facilities
- Internet access to keep in touch with family and friends
Electrician jobs FIFO
There are various types of FIFO electrician jobs available:
- High Voltage Electrician – to service mine vehicles, fix faulty wiring in heavy machinery, test and diagnose electrical system faults, install wiring, or climb a lighting tower.
- Mine Electrician – This includes servicing, maintaining, diagnosing, repairing, and statutory testing a variety of fixed plant/process electrical equipment.
- Underground Electricians – Underground electricians are in charge of installing and repairing cables and wires in electrical power or distribution systems. Identifying and testing faulty devices, transformers, and switches; inspecting and testing power lines and auxiliary equipment; operating power equipment for pole and tower maintenance; and following to safety regulations and procedures.
- Auto Electrician – Auto electricians primarily work on heavy earth-moving machinery. Electrical component assembly or reassembly, dealer-supplied option installations, maintenance, and build-ups to client specifications to ensure optimal safety and efficiency throughout the build.
- Quality & Testing Electrician – This person is responsible for validating the mechanical, hydraulic, electrical, and software functions of rotary drilling equipment.
FIFO Electrician Salary – In Australia, the average FIFO electrician salary is $120,413 per year or $61.75 per hour. Starting salaries for entry-level positions start at $107,250 per year, with most experienced workers earning up to $146,250 per year. According to https://au.talent.com/
FIFO Electrical Apprenticeships –
Usually available for a person enrolled to be an Electrical Instrumentation Technician (Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician and Certificate III in Instrumentation and Control). Enrolling in an apprenticeship involves:
- Training under supervision, with exposure in multiple areas of the mining and processing facilities
- Getting guidance and mentorship from qualified electrical professionals
AUSINET offers a variety of specialised courses to help students pursue their chosen career paths. For electricians considering FIFO job opportunities, we suggest upskilling with Certificate IV In Hazardous Areas and Certificate IV In Electrical Instrumentation. Our trainers have 20+ years of industry experience and can help students upskill. Our team will be happy to assist you in choosing the best training course based on your goals. If you have any questions email us at email@example.com or call us at (08) 6244 2575.
Last reviewed date: 29/12/2023