Maintaining Work/Life Balance in FIFO Work


Maintaining Work/Life Balance in FIFO Work


Most people think of FIFO and think of single men and women working long hours and lots of travel, you may not automatically think it’s the right fit for someone with a family, but with over 60,000 people in WA employed in FIFO positions, there HAS to be a way to make it work.

With the huge trades skill shortage in Australia right now, mining companies are upping the ante and offering more family related perks, such as making sure workers have access to internet or phone reception so they can contact their families.

The appeal of FIFO work

Despite the spotty reputation that the FIFO industry has with maintaining work/life balance, many workers say they actually prefer equal time at work and home set up. Many stating that they would rather have 14 straight days with their families after working 14 days than working a more traditional 9-5 and only seeing their kids at dinner and then tucking them into bed. Some workers stated that they feel they get to bond with their spouses and spend more quality time when they get to see them for the full two weeks rather than just a few hours each night.

Not to mention, only working 26 weeks out of the year, and the average wage is quite appealing!

With the popularity of  2-on 2-off rosters, it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t always the norm. But it is becoming increasingly more common in the FIFO industry. It is also quite popular with the spouses of workers, some saying that the 2-on 2-off roster is ideal as they are home long enough to beat the exhaustion and actually be a part of the family, rather than working two weeks on and one week off, when you spend half of that time trying to rest up and beat the exhaustion.

It’s also a popular career choice as there are virtually no expenses. Everything from accommodation, meals and uniforms are covered, so you are essentially only earning the whole time you are on site.

The drawbacks

Having said all of that, the FIFO lifestyle isn’t for everyone. The long hours can wreak havoc on the mental health of workers, and spending so much time apart from a spouse or parent can have negative mental health effects on the families of workers. If you are considering adopting the FIFO lifestyle, these are all things you should take into consideration.

If you’d like more information on this subject, check out this article by The West Australia.


There are positives and negatives of FIFO work, but if you can handle the time away from home, you should be able to strike a balance and maintain a rich social life when you are home.

If you’d like to become a FIFO worker, but lack the certifications to do so, browse our list of qualifications on offer via RPL. Get in touch today.

Our 5 top tips to getting FIFO Work without experience


Our 5 top tips to getting FIFO Work without experience


In Australia, the FIFO work in the minerals industry is common and it has always been a tough job. FIFO workers literally fly into the mine site; then, after their roster is over, they will fly out back home – hence, the name. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, FIFO workers were immediately impacted.  Border restrictions and quarantine requirements meant that FIFO workers commonly had to work away from their families for up to six months at a time.  That said, even prior to the pandemic Australia has experienced a shortage of FIFO workers in the mining industry. 

The increase in demand for iron ore and gold has required more production output which means more job opportunities. Up to the present, there are a lower number of enrolments in mining engineering courses and geology. Added to this, international FIFO workers have limited access due to the intermittent hard borders.

FIFO workers lucky enough to be a part of the industry, commonly enjoy attractive salary packages, albeit for long shift hours;

  • salary ranges from $1,200 to $2,000 a week
  • catered food 
  • free accommodation
  • free shuttle plane 

Plus, it’s typically quite easy to save money when working in the FIFO industry because you’re away from the temptation to spend for much of the time.  In Australia, some companies also offer a pay rise when you reach the third month of employment.  

Interested to get involved with FIFO work but don’t yet have the experience?

You’re in luck because we have come up with our top five tips to getting FIFO work with less or without experience.

  1. Obtain the minimum safety and medical certification

The Australian government requires you to obtain the minimum safety and medical certification.  Even without experience, you can have a better chance of landing a FIFO mining job.  Companies like Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue welcome applicants with no experience.  They will provide training to newbies, which are an excellent opportunity to start your career in the mining industry.

  1. Consider moving near to mining regions

If you are living near the mining regions or hotspots like Pilbara, Karratha, Port Hedland , Kalgoorlie in WA; Mount Isa, Bowen and Galilee Basins in Qld, then you can have a higher chance of getting a FIFO work.  These areas have more job opportunities that even the Federal government is giving out money to move to these regions.

  1. Take an entry-level job.

There are a lot of entry-level jobs that you can choose from even if you are non-skilled – hospitality, bus driving, landscaping, cleaning jobs, kitchen jobs or catering jobs, and more.  The key is to get into the door of mining jobs. Once you are there, you can assess yourself, see if the industry suits you best.  Then, you can decide to take full quals for better career opportunities.

  1. Go into the world of Shutdown support.

For FIFO workers, getting an entry-level job as Shutdown support is one of the great way to start the ball rolling in the mining industry. One of the reasons is because in order to get into a Shutdown support role you need to have your qualification, certificates, and inductions complete. When you work for an agency that provides shutdown support, they will often pay for your inductions. Once you’ve got all your inductions and certificates signed off by the mine site, you’re a much better prospect for continued work either with the Shutdown company or with the site itself.

  1. Get your qualifications with Trade Skills Australia

If you are a skilled worker but non-qualified, your chances of getting into FIFO work improves for Trades Assistants that take the next step towards a full qualification.  Trade Skills Australia helps engineering TA’s get their quals to take the next step in their career and get you better employment in Australia.

Is it time to get the job you want with the qualification you need? Contact us and find out how we can help you today!