View Full Version : Why are so many controllers leaving Australia?


questiontime
28th Jun 2010, 05:11
Just wondering why so many controllers are leaving Australia for other places?
Is the regulator worried about being able to maintain the level of sevice (on a consistent basis) it provides ?
Should I reconsider before applying?

Thanks



ponti6
28th Jun 2010, 08:43
Can't speak for anyone else, but

Better Money, lower cost of living, better lifestlye, move closer to the rest of the world, see more of the family, access to leave, better rosters...the list does go on....

Unsure of whether the regulator actually would be aware of the staffing situation in Aus at the moment and any future predictions.

It is a great career, had 15 wonderful years in OZ and you have to start somewhere. If you apply yourself and work hard you will get there, the training bond is for 5 yrs (I think) but most OS places wouldn't take you on with much less experience than that anyway.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

undervaluedATC
28th Jun 2010, 09:06
I'm wondering if this is a troll question.....


there are some BIG threads already about AsA - try reading through them and see if you can find some reasons in there

http://www.pprune.org/dg-p-reporting-points/390741-sydney-atc-fully-staffed-but-all-leave-cancelled.html

http://www.pprune.org/dg-p-reporting-points/336598-merged-asa-staff-shortage.html

http://www.pprune.org/dg-p-reporting-points/395077-aust-atc-shortage-icao-says-so-airservices-admit.html

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
28th Jun 2010, 09:09
<<Better Money, lower cost of living, better lifestlye,>>

Amazing. We've been to Oz twice and thought we'd died and gone to Heaven. Yet, drive around some really dirty, grim areas of London and you'll find the pubs full of Ozzies.....???? Why? Is the beer over here that good?

ferris
28th Jun 2010, 09:21
As someone who has left twice, I'll have a go. However, the reasons are going to vary and will be highly subjective. There are some things that are universal, though. Such as:
- The nature of the job. Like ANY job, eventually it is pretty boring. It's a great job, and sometimes you need reminding of that, but it's a job. AsA doesn't really excel at keeping people interested. In fact, for a long time, it has pursued the idea that a controller just sits in one chair, doing the same task/s, for ever. It was identified by one of my managers 10 years ago that he thought the biggest challenge AsA faced was staff retention because "we hire a bunch of smart people, teach them a complex task, then expect them to do that same thing for 35 years. Not going to happen." This is a biggy- people just get bored. Instead of moving them around, AsA are hell-bent on doing the opposite. Why? Because it costs more to re-train people over and over. Which leads me to....
-Obsession with costs/pretending AsA is a business.
Whilst this was necessary in order to remove public-service type waste and inefficiency when oz was emerging from those old 70s public-service practices, and was easy to do when there was lots of fat, but after years of 'trimming' the managers (who's remuneration relies on continual reductions) just start getting silly. Which leads to......
-Working OT. Management realised (like in many industries) that it's actually cheaper to run at 80% (give or take) of staff compliment, then work your 80% harder. Whilst this results in much larger pay packets, it starts to wear you down. There's nothing like securing a rare weekend off to be rung 9 times by work asking you to come in and plug the holes. There are many facets to this (such as- we do it to ourselves) but you get the drift.
-There is an enormous "us and them" culture in AsA. The controllers, and everyone else. It would seem that anyone who is not a controller views controllers as over-paid prima donas, and relish the opportunity to take them down a peg a two. This culture is tangible from the moment you start there, and is most evident in the gulf between management and controllers.
-The lying. Eventually, it WILL happen to you. "we'd just like you to do this job for 6 months, then you can do that"... "I dont remember saying that/that guy was not authorised to promise you that, so we can't/the needs of the business have changed....etc.etc". The worst is the blatant disregard of industrial agreements. I could go on for hours, but the gist is that AsA only considers an agreement binding if it favours them. This may seem an exaggeration, but I assure you it is not. Examples can be found publicly, such as at the IRC. Such as when AsA hires a controller on a contract in order to get around the award, despite there being an agreement (a binding agreement- the award) saying that "NO controllers shall be hired on contracts outside the award". The professional liars who work for AsA stand in front of the commissioner and say "we interpret that as meaning we can hire controllers on contract". I kid you not. This is just an example of that sort of practice, but it's part of the very management culture. The worst of it is when airspace closures happen due to staff shortages, and AsA will PUBLICLY denounce the controllers as causing the shortages/industrial action/lazy renegades etc etc. It's pretty hard to swallow. The controllers do huge amounts of OT to keep the place open, and that's how they spin it.
-The managers. Did I mention that already? The man-management at AsA is appalling. That is often due to some managers having never managed anything/worked at AsA their whole lives (and thus, believe the AsA culture is how things are done everywhere)/total sociopaths/worked at AsA long enough to have forgotten any other way of doing things/coming from a pool of people who almost ALL could do the job have to prove themselves something a little morethan the next guy. The satisfying thing is seeing the same practices applied to them that they use on others, at some point in their careers. It happens over and over. If you want an example of how out of touch the upper management is with the coal-face controller....Some years back, the CEO, in his column in the January edition of the monthly magazine opens with "I'd like to welcome you all back from your holidays, and trust that you are refreshed and ready for the challenges of the year ahead.......". WTF? The controllers, the core of the 'business', work 24/7 and were so short staffed that very,very little leave was available over the christmas/new year period, yet the **** has the temerity to spout that sort of stuff! Then wonders why people are grumpy! Just an example, but a very telling one.
Eventually, there is a straw....

Then, you have the lure of being able to take your skills OS. More money if that appeals to you, or just seeing the world, or broadening your work horizon. There are lots of international options, and as many reasons why people go. I'm just surprised that there aren't more who leave- although, the numbers do seem to be on the rise (and some bods who I never thought would leave, have!). It's just a shame that it is the way it is- it doesn't have to be like that.

ps. it's taken time to write this, but I think it's important that prospectives have some idea about things. You won't truly understand til you are inside yourself. Would I join AsA again, if I had my time over, knowing what I know now? Yes (if only to get the license ;) ).

ponti6
28th Jun 2010, 09:32
Undervalued ATC,
There are many threads, but I get the impression the exit rate has risen quite dramatically over the last 6-12 months....

Weirdo Earthtorch
28th Jun 2010, 09:38
Ferris {long quote}

And sadly, you can probably substitute "AsA" in Ferris' quote with "every other ANSP in the world".

amberale
28th Jun 2010, 09:58
<<Better Money, lower cost of living, better lifestlye,>>

Amazing. We've been to Oz twice and thought we'd died and gone to Heaven. Yet, drive around some really dirty, grim areas of London and you'll find the pubs full of Ozzies.....???? Why? Is the beer over here that good?

Stay away!
We've got enough 65yo Poms over here already.:}
Try driving around some grim areas of ML and SY and you'll feel the same.
It's not all Bondi and Surfers P.
And it looks like you'll flog Pontings Pussies again.:ugh:

AA

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
28th Jun 2010, 10:18
ferris. OK, and as WE noted, most other ANSPs are similar! Just depends what you want out of life. I was absolutely, 100% contented doing the same job for most of my working life and never found it boring in any way, shape or form. Maybe it's because I worked at some interesting ATC units. However, the main incentive for me was the amazing amount of time off I had to spend with my wife and kids. Life isn't all work, although some of the "managers" I worked with seemed to think they had to be at work H24, not that they actually achieved much!!! Overtime is available in the UK, but I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole - who wants to be at work every day?

Whatever turns you on, I guess....

Tarq57
28th Jun 2010, 11:10
Seems to me that the "corporate style" and all that goes with it is infiltrating every area of our lives.
I can't help thinking that this is quite an evil process.
One wonders what happens when the managers have achieved their goal, and the only employees of any given organisation are software gurus, beancounters, and HR.

They're doing it to pilots, and have been for a while; it seems a logical step to progress the devaluation of a profession into other groups who are seen as specialist or overpaid.

ferris
28th Jun 2010, 11:25
HD, the thread is titled ".....leaving Australia". My insight is directed to that end. One of the features of working there is that you will probably not work on too many different sectors, let alone different units (as you mention). The career path used to be pretty clear; from college to a variety of en-route sectors, then arrivals for a few years, approach for 10 years, the the last ten years in a nice tower. It's very different now. As if the caliber of person required is also the type to be content on the same sector for 35 years! A bean-counters approach to man-management/staff development.

undervaluedATC
28th Jun 2010, 11:36
HEATHROW DIRECTOR.... . However, the main incentive for me was the amazing amount of time off I had to spend with my wife and kids .....


This is so foreign a concept to me that it must be the reason people are headed overseas. Common roster practise is:
day one 1415-2300 [12hr break]
day two 1100-1900 [11 hr break]
day 3 morn 0600-1300 [10hr break] 2300 to 0600 day four
rest of day four - sleep - until 1600 when Asa can legally start asking you to come back and do overtime
day 5 - consider doing overtime
day 6 consider doing overtime
rinse/repeat....
[the other pattern ins 1200-2000, 0600-1400, 0600-1345 + 2330-0700]

I don't see my family for 4 days at a time... at least not when we are both awake:{

direct.no.speed
28th Jun 2010, 12:13
Trust.
Lies.
Health.
Rosters.
Incompetence.
Staff Numbers.
Denial.
Indifference.
Politics.

Plazbot
28th Jun 2010, 13:03
Airservices Australia despises its workforce at all levels above that of the console dwelling controller. I read the AsA testing thread on here and I just want to type in huge letters 'RUN AND DON'T LOOK BACK WHILE YOU CAN!!!' to all those poor suckers getting signed up today for an ever decreasing salary and conditions package.

EVERYTHING is always in AsA's favour and if not, they refuse to acknowledge the existence of any agreement be it collective or individual hand shake type arrangements. Retribution WILL be dealt if you are seen to be a spanner in the works of their plans no matter your reasons be they personal or otherwise.

I was quite happy at AsA in the grander sense for probably 10 years. I knew it was run by fools and made them fully aware I thought this but realy, did not care one way or the other and just took their money. Unfortunately for me, I left myself open for retribution one day. I accepted a position training elsewhere that I had not even applied for and due to circumstances, personal, related to the training and the trainers, I told them no thanks quite early on in the piece. My punishment was to be sent to Tops even though I had discussion as to my longer term ATC positioning that was certainly anything other than Tops. I told my new manager on Tops that I was decidedly unhappy with the idea and wanted out to which he advised that he would have me out in 12 months. 3 years later, I resigned when my new, new manager (actually may have been the 4th) told me that if I wanted out, and wanted him to do something for me, I had to do something for him. Appartently the 15 years of projects, instructing and specilist work did not count. I accepted my position overseas that afternoon.

In summary, if you do take a position as an Ar Traffic Controller with AsA or are currently employed as one, I guarantee that you WILL get shafted.... if you have not been already.

If you go looking, there are plenty of other jobs out there in the world. I had 4 to choose from when I took this one and dd not even throw my hat in the ring for the other 3 I was aware of.

I am not going to rehash the usual postings of those who have left with the justifications as to why but will just add that you may be extremely surprised as to what the rest of the world is realy like. It will very much be an individual experience as to whether that surprise is good or bad. Now, being on the otherside of the honeymoon period, I can quite sheepishly say that I am amazed I did not make a move earlier after accepting a gig and turning it down a few years ago.;)

Nautilus Blue
29th Jun 2010, 04:49
Overtime is available in the UK, but I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole

We are only allowed to decline OT if we have what A$A decide is a valid reason. They tried to get what amounted to a court order requiring us to contact work within one hour of them leaving a message, and to remain within two hours travel of work, 24/365, unless we had prior permission. They failed, but it gives you an idea of what they are like to work for.

questiontime
29th Jun 2010, 06:37
Thanks All,
Really doesn't seem anyone has anything good to say, which probably explains the leaving.

Doesn't really look like they take care of their employees.

Looking at the other threads and the terrible process that people go through, even to get to training I think I will try somewhere else.

Thanks.

enemyMiG
29th Jun 2010, 07:51
Wow, so easily discouraged.

You obviously found what you were looking for...:hmm:

questiontime
29th Jun 2010, 07:57
Wow, so easily discouraged.

You obviously found what you were looking for...http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/yeees.gif


And how long have you been rated?

By the looks of things on these forums it is your little dream, if you had to go through the whole process twice just to make it to the academy ASA must really be getting desperate.....

Some of us have other talents that lead to better careers with employers that probably look after their employees....

Maybe you need to get a life....

ozineurope
29th Jun 2010, 09:31
QT - I was in the job for 31 years and enjoyed every moment of it. Most posters here will only post the negatives because it is a place to vent.

Sure ASA are not the world's best employer but they are not the worst either. Just look at the UAE threads, FAA, UK NATS and you will find the same complaints and gripes from those employees too.

The only way to know is to have a go. At least with ASA you'll get paid to train, most other organisations make you pay to get an endorsement. Here at DFS the trainee salary is much less than that on offer in Australia so dont be convinced by what you read here, make up your own mind.

I am returning cause I now know that as an employer ASA is just like many of the other ANSPs worldwide, but Australia is so much better a place to live!

topdrop
29th Jun 2010, 11:08
If you don't like working in Brissy or Melbourne, get yourself to Cairns - it's a great place to live and work. TCU is desperate for staff.

MrApproach
29th Jun 2010, 11:46
Ferret you have nailed it, I don't think I have seen a better round up of the problems in ASA...ever.

Unfortunately for the "workers" in all industries we have become the whipping boys/girls of the latest class to hit the scene "the management class". (A century or so old now I admit but only just hitting their straps) Somehow they have convinced the world that the people who do the job cannot be trusted to get the job done. Politicians and stock holders have all been conned into believing that they need a university educated know-it-all in a suit to tell those that really know how to do the business, how to run a business. Just look at the GFC, all caused by smart-arses who could smell a cheap dollar. Where were the bank workers that knew that running a good business is about being honest and fair.

Anyway it does not matter where you look anymore, you will find plenty of CEOs and wannabe CEOs, plying their destructive trade. Promise the selection board everything they want, throw in a structural "change (doesn't matter if the workers saw that change 5 years ago) but above all make an enemy of "the union". Who by the way are always "the union" never representatives of their own employees, but you will all be used to that. The important thing is to have scape goat so when the CEO or wannabee moves on to the next sacrificial lamb his successes will be magnified and his failures the fault of "the union".

What can we do? Cross to the "dark side" although you have to live with yourself. Do what you love most and ignore the crap around you. If you feel strongly, join "the union" and take the battle to the enemy. Move overseas but be aware that CANSO exists to ensure that the bosses have a legitimate place to plot. Ignore the shit, work when you want, take sick leave inquisitions in your stride (what can they do make you a controller!), remember that revenge is a dish best served cold, and never never forget that you are working to have a life, not living to be at work.

mirage3
30th Jun 2010, 08:17
For goodness sake. If you are so unhappy as an ATC with Airservices Australia, get another job. There are no locks on the organisation's windows or doors. The solution to your sad life's dilemna is simple. Walk into your managers office, say good morning and hand in your resignation. I'm sure you'll feel so much happier without your very generous salary and the ability to take a sickie on full pay whenever it suits you and I'm sure that you will be much happier that your fellow controllers will have to give up their time off with their families to cover for your sadness. Do everyone a favour and resign. You'll be so much happier:(

ferris
30th Jun 2010, 08:36
Perhaps you have missed the point of this thread? It's because people are, indeed, "walking into their manager's office and resigning", that this thread exists. The old 'if you don't like it, leave' argument.

Well, people are. Apparently, in ever increasing numbers. Thanks for your contribution/solution, though. Let me guess, you are a manager, right?

5miles
30th Jun 2010, 14:35
Whilst there are some valid points raised by those who have ventured overseas, the rantings of a few ex-ASA controllers hardly give an un-biased view.

I've worked with many controllers who sought greener pastures and they all had varying motives. For some it was just the money. Others weren't treated the best and got jack of it.

Yet there are also a few vocal contributors on here that left before they were pushed, or weren't given other opportunities because they could barely cut it where they were.
Of course, no one will ever concede to being one of these ex-staffers, and wonder why ASA won't take them back after they burnt their bridges to a crisp. :ugh:

If you still have ambition to be an ATC, be advised, the job can be boring, frustrating, tiring, & repetitive. But also very challenging and testing. If that sounds appealling, go for it.

questiontime
1st Jul 2010, 02:46
From what I can gather,

ASA treats their employees poorly, giving little regard for personnal time.

Management don't see that as a problem, rather a privledge that you should work for them.

There are many employers in the market in Aus that will give you a lifestyle that you can enjoy and respect you as a valued employee and pay better without 365/24/7.

It seems that many controllers have developed only the one skill while working in OZ and the company hasn't enhanced its workforce, could this be a company policy to ensure they don't/can't leave?

Those "for"
say the lifestyle - obviously they aren't the ones getting rung on their days off,
if you don't like it leave - well I am sure those once did like their job, but something has changed. Also being in the real world - it just isn't that easy to develop a new set of skills and uproot your family to a new source of employment. From experience MOST MONOPOLY EMPLOYERS treat their workforce the same but the global village concept may one day cure that - as ASA seems to be going through now.

Anyway I personally don't need that kind of employer - no matter what the job and have been lucky enough to have many skill sets that enable a choice in the marketplace. I'm off to "control" a fleet of mining trucks, better pay than ASA as well, better employee benefits and a company that actually gives a damn about their employees.

I frown on all those employers that treat their staff as expendable resources.

Roger Sir
14th Jul 2010, 02:08
day one 1415-2300 [12hr break]
day two 1100-1900 [11 hr break]
day 3 morn 0600-1300 [10hr break] 2300 to 0600 day four
rest of day four - sleep - until 1600 when Asa can legally start asking you to come back and do overtime


Since when has the 'legality' of phone calls at 1600 ( Could i have a reference to quote to my ALM ) stopped them from calling much earlier?

Or do you intend to say that ASA can ring anytime but you cannot return to duty in under 8 hours? i.e. you can be called at any time and, if you accept their kind offer, you could be back at work having finished the above cycle, at 2.00 p.m. for up to 10 hours? Either way it`s crazy stuff imho.

Mobile only, on 'silent' or just off altogether...:ok:

Baileys
14th Jul 2010, 07:07
Only crazy for those people who do not ignore "Private Number".

Days off = Work Mobile Phone Off & Private Number Ignore...

It's up to you i guess.

mikk_13
17th Jul 2010, 20:10
Yet there are also a few vocal contributors on here that left before they were pushed, or weren't given other opportunities because they could barely cut it where they were.


Haha, no you are all good if you could barely cut it,

In this case you are management material.

I also don't think the people who have left for Europe will be back any time soon.

And I also hear through the grape vine the party in the brissy departures lounge is in full swing. I am wondering who is going to train the esteemed alm team, who i doubt will be able to hold the ratings required to fill the gaps.

Roger Sir
17th Jul 2010, 20:55
And I also hear through the grape vine the party in the brissy departures lounge is in full swing. I am wondering who is going to train the esteemed alm team, who i doubt will be able to hold the ratings required to fill the gaps.


Not quite full swing yet i`d say, but gathering pace. Rumour has it the revised Brissy Approach roster is soooo inviting it has the troops dusting off resumes and making discreet enquiries of former comrades now overseas.

As for the 2% fat endorsements for ALMs? Who will train them and who will check them? :ugh:

mikk_13
17th Jul 2010, 21:30
Air Traffic Control Jobs at Flight Jobs (http://www.flightglobal.com/jobs/browse/air_traffic_control.htm)


here are the links.

OurSoul
18th Jul 2010, 11:14
HEATHROW DIRECTOR
<<Better Money, lower cost of living, better lifestlye,>>

Amazing. We've been to Oz twice and thought we'd died and gone to Heaven. Yet, drive around some really dirty, grim areas of London and you'll find the pubs full of Ozzies.....???? Why? Is the beer over here that good?

Its called returning to the scene of the crime!!;)

Baileys
28th Jul 2010, 08:33
Ms MacDonald says she hopes the legal action will change the hostile culture towards women


ASA managers are hostile to all ATC's not just women.

ferris
28th Jul 2010, 13:48
ASA managers are hostile to all ATC's not just women. I didn't think I'd be the only one with that exact same sentiment.

Baileys
28th Jul 2010, 13:57
Looks like those online Equity and Diversity courses just didn't get through to Management - or are they exempt from doing them. Maybe they are just for lazy ATC's with so much spare time on shift.

What a complete embarrassment. I sincerely hope those women get a nice settlement and apology.

It's just another good reason to not work there.

general disaray
19th Aug 2011, 18:05
I used to hate having to apply for my leave 18 months in advance, like I can really plan that far ahead.
Stupid ASA

general disaray
19th Aug 2011, 18:13
And as for the way they treat women here is a first hand account.
I was the first female controller the tower (I will not disclose) had in 6 years. I asked, quiet discretely for them to put sanitry bins in the ladies toilets. They brought the lady who worked for the disposal company into the cab of the tower and introduced her to me and advised
"this is the lady who will be taking care of your special needs"
Ummmm what the f*ck
The tower was full and it was done in front of everyone, I was mortified.
And I'm sorry did you say special needs. It's perfectly natural buddy.
And that was just the begining........

But the story has a happy ending. I got out.

Plazbot
20th Aug 2011, 04:25
Seeing as someone else bumped the thread, I thought I might take the opportunity to add that 20 months down the track, it has proven to be the best decision I ever made to depart.

:ok:

Mimpe
20th Aug 2011, 04:56
It must be a stress thing, or a deficit of simple civil society ... the struggles at Airservices.

From the users side, I nearly always feel the Australian ATC are doing a good job, and they deal with me as a "consumer" very professionally. The grumpiest controllers (on occasions)I have come into contact with are Bankstown, but they probably get subjected to all levels of variable competence,language variations, and traffic loads. I'm reassured by the proceedural strictness of the Australian air traffic system.

Rest assured... air protocol doesnt allow us pilots to say more than the briefest of thanks, and the job satisfaction can't come in practical terms from that kind of feedback...however I'm pretty sure everyone who flies safely in and out of our controlled airports is pretty aware of the good service they are getting.

I had to put down at Williamtown suddenly last year when some unforecast IMC with very low cloud base hit the area ...the controllers were great .

missy
20th Aug 2011, 12:44
I used to hate having to apply for my leave 18 months in advance, like I can really plan that far ahead.
Stupid ASA
the guidelines around leave was a negotiated agreement between union and ASA, it was a union demand, not an ASA initiative and stemmed from some "issues" in MEL Centre which were thrust upon everyone else.

Blockla
20th Aug 2011, 15:29
Yeah like the lack of a genuine training plan... Which continually caused systemic leave cancellations... Never happened in Sydney though... aaahhhmmmm

The 18 months notice was so that ASA could plan to accommodate your leave requests i.e. if you gave them 18 months notice it wasn't "reasonable" whatever the reason to deny you leave... not used to deny access to leave if you didn't give 18 months notice...