WA miners pay continues to rise

West Australian miners are continuing to rake in the big money following more pay increases.

Workers in the sector recorded pay increases of between 4% and 5% in the past quarter alone, according to Ambit Engineering Recruitment.

These latest pay increases were ahead of the national inflation rate, which sits at only 1.6%, and highlighted the continuing trend of high paying mining jobs.

After tracking salaries across 130 job areas in the state, the company found that most resources sector workers have received pay increases of up to 5%: for example, senior environment managers earn $100 672 (up from $96 800) while oil & gas sector senior project managers earn $274 560 (up from $264 000).

Ambit CEO Peter Acheson put the pay rises down to continue demand for skilled workers.

"It’s a situation that has inevitably led to pay rises – and there is likely to be continued upward pressure on salaries and rates over the next quarter. In fact, I expect pay pressure to intensify as many resources sector companies are intending to further increase their hiring levels in the July quarter," Acheson said.

Labour shortages are rife throughout the industry.

Earlier this year Gina Rinehart announced that she would need around 10 000 workers for her upcoming Roy Hill iron ore mine alone, adding that due to the skills shortages she would be forced to employ around 1700 foreign workers to fill the gap.

"Once we're in full operation, the intention is to create 2000 highly paid, full-time permanent jobs for Australians by the beginning of 2015, when we put the first ore on ship," they said.

"However, to get there, over a three-year period, that's how long the construction phase goes, we've actually got to have 8000 construction workers."

Yesterday unions were up in arms over demands such as Rinehart's, and held rallies against the increased employment of foreign workers over Australian miners.

However Acheson supported Rinehart's premise, saying that as "Western Australia’s local skills base becomes fully stretched, companies will need to draw on the international skills pool – as well as participating in programs for developing the local skills base – to ensure they’re able to keep up as demand for skilled resources sector workers peaks over the next three to five years".

He went on to add that "while the temporary 457 are not a long-term solution, it provides a safety valve that relieves the pressure on Australia’s skills base, and helps ensure confidence in industry capacity".

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