The 8 top reasons mining employees left their last job

Dented hard hats
Photo from @adcajo80 in Instagram

MPi conducted a poll to find out why people left their last mining job. Here are the top 8 answers.

We recently created the new Mining People International (MPi) Polling Booth. The idea was to survey visitors to the MPi website and feed the results back in quick time to readers of MPi News and various other MPi publications.

Our latest poll asked the following question:

Why did you leave your last job? IMPORTANT NOTE: We appreciate there are often several reasons for leaving but please just select the most significant one.

The response was huge, with almost 650 respondents. Once again the results were fascinating.

I was dismissed due to performance related issues.

13 2.02%

I was made redundant.

260 40.5%

I resigned because I did not relate to the culture of the company or my team mates.

16  2.49%

I resigned because I did not get on with my boss.

19 2.96%

I resigned because the job was not how it was initially described or the conditions were changed.

46 7.17%

I resigned to go to a better paying job.

51 7.94%

I resigned to achieve career progression.

143 22.27%

I resigned for personal or family reasons.

94 14.64%

Redundancy has been a painful adjustment

Not surprisingly, a large percentage of respondents lost their job due to downsizing actions taken by their employer. While we are not suggesting that 40 per cent of the mining industry was made redundant, (we would obviously attract a higher than normal ratio of out-of-work jobseekers to our website and polling booth), it does indicate that the industry went through a terribly difficult period that is still causing considerable disruption to many people who are still trying to get back into work.

There is not a lot more we can do or say about this other than to wish them well and spare a thought.

A takeaway for employers

We know that when people lose their job in the mining industry, for various reasons they will keep looking to get a similar job for a certain period of time. They do this because the incomes are good and it is worth persisting for a while. Eventually though they give up and must make a permanent decision to move away from mining and either retrain in a totally different area, or if they are old enough, some look to restructure their financial circumstances and retire altogether.

We believe a large number of people who left the mining industry in the last downturn will not come back, and when more favourable conditions begin to return, they will not be there applying to job advertisements or responding to recruiters’ phone calls. We first observed this starting to occur more than 12 months ago during the latter half of 2015 and throughout 2016.

A takeaway for the broader business community in resources-dependent towns and cities

Our experience of watching several of these mining cycles pass is that when the “capitulation” phase described above finally hits jobseekers, it is only then that, sadly, some of them lose their home or have to make severe and permanent changes to their consumption patterns.

So, for example, in places like Perth, Western Australia, it is usually only around now in early 2017, that most general businesses dependent on broader economic activity really feel the worst of the resources fallout.

We hope this is true this time and we are through the worst of it.

So, what things cause employees to make their own decision to quit?

Putting redundancy aside for the moment and removing the 13 who were dismissed due to performance-related issues, it is important to acknowledge that we still had just short of 400 people answer the poll question.

Out of interest we recalculated the percentages after removing those who were made redundant and dismissed and assessed those who resigned because:

1. They wanted to achieve career progression 38.8%
2. For personal or family reasons 25.5%
3. They went to a better paying job 13.8%
4. The job was not how it was initially described or it changed 12.5%
5. They did not get on with their boss 5.1%
6. They didn’t relate to the company culture or their team mates 4.3%

The last takeaway for employers

Clearly almost two-thirds of people quit their job for reasons that you could only describe as deeply personal and because the job was not delivering them what they wanted from a career or what they needed for their family.

As an employer what can you (or what must you) do about this?

Well to begin…..

The annual performance review process is broken.

A topic that is getting a lot of airplay at the moment is based on the strong evidence that the “annual performance review” process is broken and this fast-moving, constantly connected world is contributing to a deep sense of disconnect between many employers and employees.

Deloitte Consulting published an excellent article on this subject recently and to quote the report briefly: “In a world where employee retention and workforce capability are significant indicators of business success, the performance management process should focus on continuous coaching and development, rather than competitive evaluation. Managers who provide regular feedback and opportunities to improve are far more likely to field high-performing teams than those who retain once-a-year rankings.”

At MPi we changed our own review process for experienced employees a year or so back. We now have a more casual conversation, guided by a small number of questions that the employee can answer directly or both parties can simply use as a guide.

The result is a closer personal connection and fewer surprises. 

If this topic is important to you, I recommend you read the Deloitte article in full.

“Performance management is broken - Replace ‘"rank and yank’" with coaching and development.”

If you take them seriously, the statistics suggest that this is not a matter of what you can do, but more one of what you “must” do!

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)

[email protected]