Alternatives to accepting a zero dollar pay rise in 2018

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Alternatives to accepting a zero dollar pay rise in 2018

Low wages growth is predicted to be around for some time yet, and by all accounts it is beginning to impact people’s lifestyles and spending habits. Wages in Australia are growing at the slowest rate on record. In the mining industry, wage growth while slow, is predicted to increase in 2018 as skills shortages begin to impact parts of the industry.

In WA, people are changing their behaviour. While the mining industry continues to enjoy above average wages, the reality for many people across all industries is belts are being tightened.  And for many in the mining industry, the last several years have shown that boom times don’t last forever, and neither do the high salaries.

Companies in other sectors are leading the way in employee engagement, support and flexibility. While some of these suggestions simply would not work in a FIFO environment, they could be considered in residential operations and corporate offices.

While you could always start looking for another role, the grass isn’t always greener.

What are some alternatives to pay increases you could negotiate?

Do you or your organisation qualify for training grants from the government? Could you commence a course and work a few less hours a week to gain additional skills, a qualification and progression in your career? Or maybe you have always wanted to learn something completely unrelated to your occupation? Is now the time to ask?

Would you company be amenable to providing additional annual leave, with the proviso the additional leave is to be used during quieter times? Many businesses close down over the Christmas New Year period, and staff are required to take annual leave. Perhaps providing these days as extra days, can be a win / win for everyone.

In a FIFO environment, requesting additional annual leave as a service payment to operations personnel after a set time period is a possibility. Companies at one stage offered an additional 5 or 7 days annual leave after 2 years employment. (and who can remember length of service payments)

Flexible start and finish times for everyone, provided the team requirements are still met. What about compressing time, so everyone gets a long weekend every month or fortnight? Sometimes just knowing you can leave a half an hour early, or enjoy that second coffee in the morning before heading in can be enough for people to feel appreciated.

Working from home on occasion allows you to plan for those odd jobs that sometimes you just cannot get a tradesperson on weekends to do.

This company in Sydney has gone to a new level. Offering a creche at work, travelling nannies and flexible work arrangements among other initiatives. 

While not every company, site or office can offer a pay rise this year, there are other ways that don’t have to add significantly to the bottom line, that can ensure employees feel valued, and companies retain quality staff. Has your company initiated any additional incentives in lieu of pay increases or as part of a retention strategy?

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Gail Rogers 
Senior Consultant - Candidate Services & HR Consulting 
Mining People International

Gail worked in operational and technical mine site roles for 15 years and has been with MPi since 2002 in mining recruitment and executive search and eventually mining career guidance and human resources advisory positions. Gail’s 15 years directly in the mining industry, across residential, FIFO and CBD based roles, has given her a unique perspective into the industry.