Co-supervisor Dr Graeme Ditchburn, of Murdoch School of Psychology, said he is hoping to determine whether FIFO workers have the same kind of relationship with their organisation as workers in more traditional fields.
“Anecdotal evidence indicates that because of the nature of their contract, they might not be as committed to their employer. The vast majority of workers may be satisfied with their day-to-day work, but this doesn’t stop them from ‘jumping ship’ to other companies or industries.”
Dr Ditchburn sees wages as only part of engaging workers for the long-term.
“Companies may be giving workers what they want in the short term, but not what they necessarily need overall. Increasing pay alone has a transitory effect. If you pay people more, it can actually result in people becoming less intrinsically satisfied, so there needs to be more,” he said.
Study co-supervisor Libby Brook wonders if enough support is being given by companies to partners, and in the right way.
“If partners are unhappy, workers will be inclined to leave the job. Companies are spending a lot of money to support families, and hopefully this study will help direct them to the best ways to use their resources,” she said.
The study will explore the effects of various shifts and types of schedules on well-being and work-life balance as well as resources available to support workers, if these resources are used and their effectiveness.
“Companies are often reluctant to examine the physical, mental and social effects of shift structures, but not having the information is akin to burying their heads in the sand,” Dr Ditchburn said.
FIFO workers and their partners are encouraged to participate at www.fiforesearch.com