NSW mines play pay catch up

COAL mining salaries in New South Wales are closer to matching mining jobs in Western Australia, according to the 2011 Hays Salary Guide. But Queensland mine managers are tipped to receive up to $70,000 more per year than their compatriots in NSW.
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Image courtesy of Xstrata Coal.

Blair Price

Amid much skills-related commentary in the 148-page report, Hays said remuneration and benefits packages were gaining momentum as sought-after candidates chose between offers and resource industry employers acted to retain existing staff.

“Further salary trends are seen in New South Wales’ coal sector, where salaries are now starting to match those offered in Western Australia,” Hays said.

“This is exacerbating Western Australia’s skill shortage.”

In regards to Queensland, Hays said there were major requirements for operators and maintenance crews as hard rock mines reopened, while mining houses and coal companies were all recruiting.

“The floods had a major but short-term impact on productivity. Queensland mines are again operational and demand has not waned.

“In a market this active, the ability to secure the top talent is critical to business success.

“In many states, interstate recruitment is now increasingly on the agenda, while companies are becoming more receptive to international applicants, particularly experienced mining engineers, geologists, geotechnical engineers and senior level strategic candidates.”

Aside from poaching key staff from interstate, Hays recommended mining companies became more flexible with their recruitment efforts.

“Most employers have found that adhering to a rigid criteria and a long recruitment process will not secure top talent.

“This flexibility extends to the level of experience required. There are still few opportunities for unskilled people or those without relevant industry experience.

“Yet considering transferable skills will allow an employer to open their vacancy to a wider pool of talent, who may have the desired behaviours and cultural fit, and who, with a little training, can become a valued asset.”

The recruiter forecast annual coal mining salary ranges based on positions and locations.

Queensland mine managers are tipped to receive $200,000-250,000 while those in NSW are forecast to earn $180,000-220,000.

While salaries for coal handling and processing plant managers and coal project managers are fairly similar between the two coal states, Queensland employers are expected to keep paying higher sums for most engineering roles.

Mining engineers were forecast to earn between $120,000-150,000 in Queensland compared to $90,000-120,000 in NSW.

Graduate engineers are expected to fetch up to $100,000 in the sunshine state yet $85,000 is the highest amount anticipated in NSW.

Only drill and blast engineers could reach higher sums in NSW according to Hays, with a forecasted salary of $110,000-140,000 as opposed to $100,000-120,000 in Queensland.

Production superintendants also appear to be better off in NSW with a minimum salary expectation of $150,000 which is $10,000 higher than the minimum estimate for this role in Queensland.

NSW undermanagers are tipped to earn $140,000-160,000 while this position in Queensland is expected to land $150,000-180,000.

Salaries for deputies in both states are estimated to start from $120,000 but Queensland mines are anticipated to fork out as much as $150,000.

While exploration managers in Queensland are considered capable of earning up to $230,000, both senior geologist and mine geologist roles are expected to be higher paid in NSW by up to $45,000.

Please click on the PDF document to the right of screen under related links and downloads to view the complete salary guide. Coal-related salary tables start from page 137.