Poll results: Is December ‘Snatchit’ month?

Relaxing in a hammock after quitting job

It’s long been suspected more employees quit mining jobs in December than any other month. Our reader poll delivers a clear answer to this theory.

What we long suspected is true – December is a common  month to quit a mining job.

That’s according to new data from the Mining People Polling/Media Centre, gathered from an online poll in January.

We asked: Is December “Snatchit” Month? If respondents felt it was true, we asked them to tell us the reasons.

Out of 167 respondents, 36% said they don’t believe it’s true and the reputation of people quitting mining in December doesn’t exist.

That means more than 6 in 10 people who answered our poll believe December is “Snatchit” month, the time of the year when people bail on mining jobs.


New year, new mining job

Twenty-nine per cent of respondents say the reason people quit is they’re feeling reflective. They view the new year as an opportunity for a fresh start.

“I think as the end of the year comes, we all reflect on the year just gone and if we want to do the same thing next year.”

Others told us it was the result of year-end fatigue.  

“After 12 months, people are just fed up,” said one person. They want a break and have the view of “I need a rest and start fresh at end of January or February.”

Another respondent said, “I believe it is because of the lack of attention to the end-of-year pressures most people experience, adding to the small nagging things for the past year and pushing people not to appreciate what they have.”

There were several observations about the end of the year being a time when people were ready for a release. “I feel people just let stuff build up then pull the pin and have a break over Christmas time,” said one respondent.

The start of the summer heat also provokes people to ditch their mining job, especially when they have families waiting for them at home.

“I believe weather extremes and home with family play a big part.”


Cashed up for Christmas

Money is another popular reason for snatching in December. The year-end bonus has 28% of respondents saying they wait until it arrives and then they resign. The Christmas holiday season is also a factor for quitting a mining job in December.

“People often quit when they’re rostered on for Christmas or New Year’s. They’re happy to spend the festive season unemployed and look once they’re ready.”

More than one person suggested a short-term view of their mining job as a reason to quit before the holidays kick off.

“I think those who want Christmas or holidays with family leave early December and some seek a change the next year anyway.”

But many of this group say they feel they have no choice but to quit because they can’t get time off any other way. Many respondents commented on the difficulty with getting approved for time off over the Christmas holiday.

“I believe people want Christmas and New Year’s off. This is how they get that time off, as companies work over the Christmas break.”

One respondent suggested one way to avoid a glut of December resignations is for the mining operations to close over Christmas.

“People want to have Christmas off to be with family. Like years ago, mines should shut down over Christmas. Only allow people who want to work over Christmas to work.”

Lifestyle is also a big reason people quit. They want to be with their families over the holidays, but some never intend to work during the summer months.

"I have snatched it a couple of times around December. I wanted to travel and only planned to work half the financial year to pay less tax." 

The smallest percentage of people answering our poll, just under 2%, thinks the reason people quit mining in December is because of the new schooling year. 


Perfect storm to quit a mining job

Our data tells us there are three main reasons people quit their mining job in December:

  1. They want to spend Christmas and summer holidays with their family
  2. They’ve felt under pressure and want to start fresh in the new year
  3. Inflexible holiday rosters make them feel like they have no choice but to quit.


Some of these things are never going to change. People view a new year with hope and often use the end of the year as a time to reflect on how they’d like their life to be different.

The mining industry would benefit from delving a little deeper into the December snatchit habit. Is there a way to have more family-friendly rosters over the holiday period? Do we need to take a closer look at ongoing stresses and find a way to open the pressure valve before employees quit?

As the market becomes competitive for skilled workers, maintaining a skilled workforce is essential. December comes every year and always arrives with hot weather and the festive season. What can we do now to plan for lower employee turnover next December? Mining People is here to help you all year round, so don’t hesitate to get in touch before snatchit season arrives for 2020. Now is the time to be planning for it.


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Sarah Mitchell
Mining People International