Mining Salaries | Will miners receive a pay rise in 2019?

May 20, 2019 Mining Editor

When it comes to mining salaries, many miners are concerned about the future benefits their employers can provide. A recent survey and salary guide has confirmed some good news and bad. More resources and mining employees will receive a pay rise this year than last, but it will be a less significant increase than they hoped for.

According to the FY 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide, 88% of mining, resources, energy, oil and gas industry employers will increase salaries in their next review, up from 81% who did so in their last review.

However, the value of these increases will fall. Almost two-thirds (63%) intend to raise salaries at the lower level of 3% or less, up from 54% who did so in their last review. At the other end of the scale, just 5% of employers, down from 7%, intend to grant pay increases of more than 6%.  

KEY POINTS

  • 63% of mining, resources, energy, oil and gas employers will increase salaries by 3% or less;
  • 57% of professionals say a pay rise is their number one career priority this year;
  • An uncompetitive salary is one reason why 41% of job seekers look for a new job.

Professionals prioritise a salary increase

For their part, 34% of the mining, resources, energy, oil and gas professionals Hays also spoke to expect no increase whatsoever, while a further 48% expect 3% or less. However, 12% expect between 3 and 6% and the final 6% expect a raise of 6% or more.

More than half (57%) say a salary increase is their number one career priority this year. 46% intend to achieve this by asking for a pay rise, while others are looking elsewhere – 41% of job seekers say their current uncompetitive salary provoked their job search.  

Mining salaries – a tug of war

“Evidently, the aggregate effect of several years of sedate salary increases is taking its toll and we’re now seeing a tug of war over salaries,” says Chris Kent, Regional Director of Hays Resources & Mining.

“On the one hand, we have professionals telling us they’ve prioritised a pay rise and are prepared to enter the job market to improve their earnings. On the other, employers tell us they want to add to their headcount and are being impacted by skill shortages, yet they plan to curtail salary increases for now because they don’t want to pay the soaring salaries that we saw during the last boom.

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“Looking ahead, there will be some jobs and locations that will offer higher salary increases than others though. For example, renewed optimism is driving up vacancy activity and reigniting skill shortages. Western Australia’s mining industry is at the centre of this skill shortage and given this, staffing demand and salaries will continue to rise.

“A further increase in exploration spending in all mining jurisdictions will create high demand for Exploration Geologists and Field Assistants. However, these candidates are in short supply and salaries for candidates with solid underground experience are expected to increase.

“Queensland’s mining companies are competing with domestic manufacturing and fabrication companies for experienced Boilermakers, using higher salaries to attempt to attract top talent. Dump Truck Operators and all-round Operators are in demand too. Employers are offering higher hourly rates and flexible rosters to attract candidates.

“In South Australia, Control System Engineers with heavy industry experience in programming PLC and SCADA systems are scarce. Demand exists in contracting firms for the major mining sites with FIFO and residential roles available. We expect salaries to rise for these highly specialised roles.

“Mines in NSW, like other states, are facing increased competition for talent from infrastructure projects. As a result, employers will need to review base salaries or look at other innovative ways to attract candidates.

“Victorian miners require reliable and experienced quarry workers from Superintendents and Quarry Managers to trades and general labour. The increased volume of construction projects is draining candidate availability. Again, wage increases will likely follow this war for talent.”

In other key findings, the 2019/20 Mining Salaries Guide found:

  • 67% of organisations offer flexible salary packaging. Of these, the most common benefit is salary sacrifice, offered by 55% of employers to all employees. This is followed by above mandatory superannuation (offered by 37% of employers to all their employees), parking (33%), bonuses (27%) and private health insurance (26%);
  • Of the benefits offered to a select few employees, private expenses tops the list, with 70% of employers offering it to a hand-picked number of employees;
  • 68% of employers said business activity had increased over the past year, with 70% expecting it to increase in the next 12 months;
  • 47% intend to increase permanent staff levels over the coming year;
  • 70% say skill shortages will impact the effective operation of their business or department in either a significant (28%) or minor (42%) way, up from 67% last year;
  • 54% of employers are restructuring to keep up with changing business needs – the key driver of these restructures is a change in the required skill sets;
  • In skill short areas, 57% of employers would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified overseas candidate.

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