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Pay increase in store for mining and resources employers

Employers will transition away from higher levels of temporary and contract roles back to more permanent positions in the year ahead, but recruiting experts Hays Resources and Mining warns professionals to be realistic in your salary expectations during this period.

According to the 2015 Hays Salary Guide, released today, just 13 per cent of resources and mining professionals can expect a salary increase of three per cent or more in their next review.

Instead around half (51 per cent) will receive an increase of less than three per cent, and 36 per cent will receive no increase.

The Hays Salary Guide includes salary and recruiting trends for over 1000 roles in 14 locations in Australia and New Zealand and is based on a survey of 2610 organisations, representing almost 2.9 million (2,891,747) employees.

“With global commodity prices at historically low levels, Australia’s miners remain cautious about workforce planning,” says regional director Chris Kent said.

“Many are going through major structural changes in an attempt to remain profitable. In the past 12 months, major producers have been looking to their operations for the majority of their cost savings but with much of the commissioning of new projects now complete, attention is turning to the reduction of wages in operations and maintenance.

“To do this, employers are converting a costly casual workforce into a more sustainable, secure, but ultimately lower salaried permanent workforce.

“Across the country, specialised and highly skilled contract staff are increasingly being hired to relieve operations but also to drive process improvement and cost reduction strategies.”

SALARIES

The Hays Salary Guide found that 37 per cent of resources and mining employers did not increase salaries in their last review.

Like the previous financial year (2013-14), those who did receive a salary increase in 2014-15 found that their wallet was not that much heavier.

Forty two per cent of employers increased salaries by less than three per cent, while 19 per cent gave increases between three and six per cent. Just two per cent of employers gave increases of 6 per cent or more.

Looking ahead, 51 per cent of employers intend to increase salaries in their next review by less than three per cent. A further 12 per cent will boost salaries between three and six per cent, while just one per cent will increase by six per cent or more. However 36 per cent have no plans to raise salaries when they next review.

Regional trends as reported in the Hays Salary Guide
In regional trends, the Hays Salary Guide said Western Australia’s iron ore market has “now largely made the transition from construction to production”.

“High-cost producers face pressure to stay profitable while the major low cost producers are churning out record production numbers in order to cover for reduced profitability,” the guide stated.

“In gold, there has been an increase in exploration activity and a number of recent acquisitions make this sector the one to watch in the year ahead for job creation.

“While new permanent roles have been rare over the past year, those on offer come with lower salaries, particularly in areas such as health and safety.”

The guide said in Queensland, unlike Western Australia, permanent wages for production workers have already reduced.

“Many believe that the coal sector will see some stabilisation and even small improvement in the year ahead but unemployment in the sector will ensure wages will remain relatively flat,” it said.

We have seen an increase in short-term contract vacancies for candidates who have current medicals and inductions and are ready to go on DIDO friendly rosters and we expect this to continue.

“Often these contracts result in permanent positions and the major areas of interest are reliability and maintenance planning and Brownfield mine engineering.”

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