Mining People Matters

Steve Heather

Steve Heather, Managing Director and Co-founder of Mining People International (MPi).

What are the top reasons people leave their mining jobs?

Open Pit Dump Truck

Find out why most mining employees leave their jobs, according to a survey of more than 600 people working in the industry.

Our latest survey is the second part of a two-part series of surveys designed to help mining employers understand what employees value in their bosses.

Let’s recap last month briefly, before getting on to this month’s results.

Last month we surveyed the mining employee market and wrote an article entitled: “Here’s how mining employees describe great bosses”

Integrity, you may be interested to note, came out on top – and by a country mile. It was followed by excellent communication skills.

If you’re interested, read the full article here.

This month we carried out the second part of that piece of research. We asked: “Why did you leave your last mining job”.

We received more than 600 responses.

Why did you leave your last mining job?

Important Note: We appreciate there are often several reasons for leaving, but we asked respondents to select the most significant one.

We had previously run this same poll in February 2017, so here are the responses to this most recent poll alongside the earlier results, for comparison. (We received 642 responses to the earlier poll).

July 2019 Feb 2017




I was made redundant




I resigned for personal or family reasons




I resigned to achieve career progression




I resigned because I did not relate to the culture of the company or my teammates




I resigned to go to a better paying job




I resigned because the job was not how it was initially described to me







What do these poll results show us?

Firstly, there are evidently many other reasons for people leaving mining jobs that are not immediately obvious. We’ll ask more questions in the future to fully understand what’s going on. We can though group the responses into three headline categories:

The reasons notable reductions occurred:

  • Redundancy – This should come as no surprise. No ‘new news’ there
  • To achieve career progression – It seems people are currently happier and perhaps getting more options presented to them, as their current mining company employer works harder to retain them.

The reasons notable increases occurred:

  • Did not relate to the workplace culture or teammates – People are probably more confident of leaving for such reasons, knowing that if one mining company is not investing in creating a good workplace culture, there will others out there that are
  • Not getting on with the boss – Similar to workplace culture, if people find themselves with a boss they don’t like, they’re far more confident there is one out there they will relate to.

Two interesting things that didn’t change much as reasons for leaving:

  • Personal or family reasons – An employer could argue this is out of their control, but at 13% it is still a big number. With more attention paid to mitigating the impacts of work life on home life in the mining industry, and with fly-in fly-out in particular, this number should come down, hopefully, and further reduce some unnecessary and expensive turnover
  • The job was misrepresented – At 9%, this is also a large number and perhaps could be reduced by more careful attention to those involved in recruitment and final interviews.   

I trust this has been interesting and an insight into the hearts and minds of mining employees, including what they think a great boss looks like and why they quit.

What to do next?

Could your organisation benefit from any of the following:

Third-party commissioned research:

If you are looking for deep insights into the mining markets and would like MPi to conduct some targeted industry research on your behalf, then please email us.

Targeted mining industry human resource consulting and remuneration services: 

Mining People has more than 24 years’ specialist experience helping mining companies and employees with their HR and Careers services. Find out more about our HR consulting and Career Guidance services here, or get in touch today.

Recruitment, Executive Search and Labour Hire services:
Contact one of our discipline experts today. 

Steve Heather signature
Steve Heather – BAppSc (Mining Engineering) WASM, FRCSA

Managing Director & Principal Executive Search - Mining People International (MPi)

Fellow/National Board Member – Recruitment, Consulting & Staffing Association Aust. & N.Z. (RCSA)