Is the hourly rate for mining jobs being driven down?


Is the hourly rate for mining jobs being driven down? Let's take a look at the rumours and the facts.

It seems some rumours are going around at present. One of the most concerning is that the hourly rate for mining jobs is being driven down by market conditions. If you work in the mining industry or for the mining industry, that information is sure to cause you some concern and heighten stress levels if you’re due to renew a contract or hoping to secure a new role.

Thankfully, Shane Moore, MPi General Manager of Workforce Operations, says the rumours around hourly rates are incorrect. In fact, he says, “the supply and demand function is driving hourly rates in the mining industry up”.

So, before we all hit the panic button and accept these rumours as fact, it may be wise for us to take a look at the current landscape of the mining industry in Australia and determine whether these rumours are backed by reality.

What we know for certain

The mining industry is about to face a skills shortage. In our experience, rates do not go down when there is a skills shortage; the opposite is true. Unless the company is looking to go out of business, rates become more competitive in order to attract the best candidates when access to these skills is sparse.

As we discussed in our previous article on the skills shortage, the downturn is over, the investment cycle has restarted, and mining companies are announcing that hundreds of new jobs are being created on a regular basis. In the few weeks leading up to Christmas alone, Rio Tinto, BHP, Glencore and Iluka Resources announced major projects totalling almost 1000 jobs. Today we read that the Bowen Basin has 421 mining jobs advertised right now!

Where has this misconception come from

It is likely these rumours are coming from people who perhaps saw rates driven down in the downturn but haven’t recently engaged with the industry to realise that it is back out the other side. Thus their perception is that rates are still down.

Good news ahead for mining industry pay rates

Moore adds: “It’s not only the rates they are starting to climb, but we are also now seeing mining companies bring back other benefits, including health insurance, housing allowances, gym membership etc.”

From this it is clear that retention is becoming increasingly prominent in the minds of mining companies, who want to ensure their staff are happy and secure, with no risk of them jumping ship. 

As you can see, this is not the landscape for cutting rates. This is the landscape for increases in rates and benefits.

Want proof? Talk to the team at MPi for their insights on the conditions and what pay you can expect for your current role (or the role you want). MPi’s consultants are experts in mining recruitment. Contact us today to secure your new mining job.

Stephanie O'Brien
Mining People International