Skills shortage drives up wages

Image: Mining People International

In the midst of mining skills shortage, the rate of employees who received a pay rise in the last year has jumped, according to Mining People International.

The number of employees who reported to have received a pay rise less than a year ago (33.08 per cent) in October 2018 has increased 6.64 per cent since March this year.

Hays in its 2018 salary guide showed that increasing job vacancies has ended wage erosion for loyal workers who remained in the industry over recent years.

“In fact, by early 2018 many jurisdictions began to increase wages in an attempt to lure back those blue collar workers who secured jobs in alternative industries closer to home,” Hays stated.

“This is particularly evident in North Queensland where drive-in, drive-out roles were common.”

But in contrast, an entrenched 42 per cent of people haven’t received a rise for more than three years, reported Mining People. It is not clear which type of work arrangement these employees belong to.

According to Hays, employers are offering proven temporary staff permanent positions. Companies’ appetite for a dwindling pool of experienced people and trialling blue collar workers in contract roles will also push up hourly rates.

In March this year, 27 per cent of mining employees said they were “somewhat likely” to change jobs if they continued to be underpaid, with 59 per cent saying it was “very likely”. A total of 70 per cent of people also believed they were underpaid.

But Mining People managing director Steve Heather said more companies were looking to invest in other employee benefits instead of pay rises.

“These obviously also come at a cost. … If a company improves work rosters so employees get to spend more time at home, this means more people in total have to be employed to make up for the working hours lost on site,” Heather said.

Companies’ provision of better accommodation and communication facilities onsite might considerably improve the wellbeing of employees and their families.

Mining People suggested companies to take a serious look at going outside the traditional pools of talent and more inexperienced people with a better fit and all-around motivations.