Are mining industry professional salaries rising?

3 people around a meeting table

What has happened to professional salaries in the mining industry since the end of the boom?

During the boom the mining industry had a reputation for high salaries. While the common folklore was about people with no experience getting FIFO jobs as truck drivers on $150,000 a year, the professional side of the industry was also experiencing generous remuneration.

But that was then. This is now. With the boom long gone, but with positive signs of some kind of recovery in the industry, how are professional salaries in Australia’s mining industry looking now?

According to a recent report in the Sydney Morning Herald, changes in the Australian economy mean 2017 is, generally, the year wages in this country should start to rise.

“Since their peak in 2011… real gross national income per person has been falling. With an end to the deterioration (of Australia’s terms of trade) now in prospect… it shouldn't be long before real incomes start growing again,” the report said.

The recruitment industry is uniquely positioned to see firsthand trends for professional salaries in Australia’s mining industry, and our expert consultants have been keeping a close on eye on the job marketplace as the “green shoots” in the industry have started to show.

The best advice for mining industry professionals

Their advice? If you take the Australian mining industry as a whole, the salaries are stagnant but certain sectors have had positive movement. For example, if you are a Mine Geologist in Kalgoorlie your ability to negotiate a high salary has certainly increased in the last six to 12 months. And any professional with a strong gold background will probably see a slight increase in their salary, because that commodity has been holding a reasonably strong price over the past year.

But we’re not in boom times yet. Far from it. Our team has noticed that mining companies are still heavily focused on costs at the moment and ensuring they are contained. They’re not rushing towards the salary blowouts we saw before the 2011 crash. Rather, those areas where professional salaries are growing are in particular disciplines where mining companies need to skill-up at this stage of the investment cycle.

For those who can’t wait for salaries to increase, there is at least some good news: There are more mining jobs on offer. Job ads in May 2017 were up 55 per cent, year on year, according to one major jobseekers’ site.

Compare your salary against the mining employment market by submitting your details here.

Dan Hatch
Mining People International