Top dollar for underground statutory roles

THE current skills shortage in underground coal statutory roles, including deputies and ventilation officers, will grow more acute next year leading to improved salary and conditions packages and greater reliance on 457 visa sponsorship, according to a report by Stellar Recruitment.
Top dollar for underground statutory roles Top dollar for underground statutory roles Top dollar for underground statutory roles Top dollar for underground statutory roles Top dollar for underground statutory roles

Image courtesy of Xstrata Coal.

Lou Caruana

Statutory roles within an underground coal environment can attract up to $20,000 more than their equivalent role in open cut, Stellar Recruitment’s division manager – coal operations, Queensland Tahlia Murdock said.

“It is important to note that many of the new developments in Queensland will be underground mines, differing from the dominance of open cut operations currently seen in Queensland,” she said.

“Companies need to think strategically and differently to attract, retain and develop staff, particularly within underground coal.”

In the competition to secure skills, contractors are also improving their remuneration packages to prospective employees, bringing their offering in line with mining companies, the report states.

“Thousands of jobs will be created over the next few years to meet project demands, adding even more pressure to the already tight labour market,” she said.

“Salary packages have been fairly stagnant over the last few years, we are now starting to see an upward movement in market rates across some disciplines (engineering, surveying and geosciences) and we expect 2012 to mark a significant jump in market salary rates across all disciplines as a method of attracting and retaining staff in a tight labour market.”

On the blue collar side in the Central, Bowen and Surat Basins there will be a significant difficulty to supply in competition with the oil and gas sector, according to a contractor interviewed in the report.

The roles currently being offered on a 457 visa sponsorship are predominantly within engineering and geosciences disciplines but this is likely to be extended.

“The candidate shortage is forcing companies to look beyond their backyard to resource their current and future projects,” Murdock said.

“We foresee the number of 457 visa sponsorships increasing significantly within already mentioned disciplines as well as surveying and operational management.”

Both contractors and mining houses offer base, superannuation and a site/project allowance of 10-25% of base salary. Where employers may differ is in the provision of vehicles, housing and the payment of bonuses.

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