Mining salaries in WA are higher now than during the last resource boom

15 July 2019

Data from BDO’s Remuneration and Reward Information Business Unit ‘REMSMART’ has revealed that overall mining salaries for certain critical roles in Western Australia are higher now than they were during the last resource boom in 2014. The new data has also shown that many of the jobs in critical short supply have had larger increases to entice workers back to the West.

Allan Feinberg, Managing Director of Remuneration and Reward Services at BDO Australia, said while there is $103 billion of resources projects in the pipeline in WA and substantial activity in the Pilbara, a number of critical skills are in short supply because a lot of the talent from the last resource boom has left the state.

“We’re now in a situation where some skills are in critical short supply but workers are not returning to Western Australia because they have found jobs in the unprecedented infrastructure boom along the Eastern Seaboard, where the salaries are on par if not more. We expect this will put pressure on WA mining companies to further increase the salaries on offer in order to fill the gaps in their teams,” Allan said.

Jobs in critical short supply in Western Australia include:

HV Fitter
Mechanical Fitter
Project Managers
Project Engineers
Excavator Operator
Ancillary Operator
Mine Engineers
Geotech engineers

Adding to the problem is a trend of more miners seeking family friendly rosters as an alternative to the 14/7 rosters traditionally used, which in turn increases the number of operational employees needed to ensure a site can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition to the shortage of skills, many companies are not adjusting their allowances and/or base salaries proportionately to new family-friendly rosters which represents a reduction in hours worked. This creates an upward pressure on salaries without any increase in productivity.

Further to this, changes to skilled migration visas have also restricted the ability of companies to recruit the skills they need from overseas.

“Mining companies in Western Australia need to start future-proofing their businesses to create a pipeline of talent so they can deliver on the opportunities in the state. But their offering must include non-financial benefits such as quality of work life and employment stability if they want to avoid an ebay-style bidding war. If the offering is based on pay rate alone, salaries in the west will continue to be pushed up to record levels,” Allan said.

This data has been produced by REMSMART, BDO Australia’s national natural resources survey.

Allan Feinberg, Managing Director of Remuneration and Reward Services at BDO Australia, speaks to 6PR’s Morning program about the mining salaries that have increased since the last resources boom – you can listen to the interview here

Read the full story in the Australian Financial Review.