Salaries: the calm after the storm

MINING salaries have plateaued but coal statutory qualifications continue to command good money, according to Hays’ 2009 Salary Survey.
Salaries: the calm after the storm Salaries: the calm after the storm Salaries: the calm after the storm Salaries: the calm after the storm Salaries: the calm after the storm


Angie Tomlinson

The annual Hays Salary Survey shows that salaries have flattened out over the past financial year in an unsurprising contrast to the continual increases of recent years.

“Given the global economic downturn the local climate has cooled in no uncertain terms, with the inevitable effect of slowing what was an overheated and unsustainable job market,” Hays Resources & Mining regional director Simon Winfield said.

“In the vast majority of cases, the premium salary that employers offered to attract a new recruit has all but disappeared, with starting salaries for new employees now largely in line with the salaries of existing employees. Sign-on bonuses have also become a thing of the past.

“This has led to significant salary stability across the board. Candidates looking for a new role are aware of the market shift and so are focusing on the employer and the opportunity rather than any possible increase in salary.”

Mining engineers remain in demand across most commodities, while in the coal sector statutory roles remain the most difficult to source, with the higher salaries that persist in Queensland making it difficult for applicants to transition to New South Wales.

Hays said any salary holds would likely affect graduate-level roles the most due to the significant increases for these roles over the last two years.

It added salary expectations of candidates had dropped 5-15%. Hourly rates among contractors had also dropped under contract renegotiations.

“Japan’s recession and China’s economic slowdown may impact salaries within the coal mining industry this year. Thermal coal producers’ salaries, however, should not be affected,” Hays said.

The agency noted the recruitment process was taking longer as employers held off to find the perfect candidate in a growing pool of applicants.

“Some employers are seeking a recruitment service simply to manage the level of applicants,” the report said.

Hays said there was confidence returning to commodity markets and while caution remained, many companies were starting to understand their skill needs for the next financial year.

Hays advised candidates to adopt a more flexible approach to their employment search and broaden the range of preferences wherever possible.

“This may include considering residential positions, different commodity groups or taking a step back to join a new organisation.

“Research the organisation you would like to join as many of the companies in the market can still offer long-term career growth.”

The coal breakdown

Project manager: $140,000-180,000 (Qld), $130,000-150,000 (NSW)

Technical services manager: $120,000-160,000 (Qld), $110,000-150,000 (NSW)

Production super: $140,000-160,000 (Qld), $100,000-130,000 (NSW)

Project engineer: $100,000-125,000 (Qld), $85,000-110,000 (NSW)

Senior engineer: $120,000-135,000 (Qld), $100,000-130,000 (NSW)

Mine planning engineer: $100,000-120,000 (Qld), $90,000-120,000 (NSW)

Graduate engineer: $70,000-100,000 (Qld), $60,000-80,000 (NSW)

Project geologist: $90,000-110,000 (Qld), $80,000-110,000 (NSW)

Graduate geologist: $70,000-90,000 (Qld), $70,000-80,000 (NSW)

Surveyor: $90,000-110,000 (Qld), $80,000-110,000 (NSW)

OHS officer: $95,000-110,000 (Qld), $80,000-110,000 (NSW)

OHS manager: $115,000-150,000 (Qld), $90,000-120,000 (NSW)

Longwall coordinator: $140,000-160,000 (Qld), $130,000-150,000 (NSW)

Undermanager: $120,000-140,000 (Qld), $125,000-160,000 (NSW)

Deputy: $105,000-130,000 (Qld), $110,000-130,000 (NSW)