Australia’s mining industry is booming again after years in the doldrums with thousands of six-figure jobs being advertised – even for those with little experience.
Everything from cooks and cleaners to engineers and diesel mechanics are in demand as mining companies that downsized during the lean years ramp up production to capitalise on soaring commodity prices.
The number of advertised jobs has climbed by a third during the past year with apprentices and mechanics with only two years’ experience able to earn an annual six-figure sum in an industry with average salaries of $140,000.
A recovery in coal and iron ore prices from a 2016 slump has encouraged tradies to move to Queensland and Western Australia in search of high-paying jobs, even though there are similar well-paid jobs only two hours north of Sydney.
Australia’s mining industry is booming with average salaries of $140,000 and a surge in job ads (An iron ore worker from Western Australia’s Pilbara region pictured)
The number of advertised jobs has climbed by a third during the past year with tradies of only two years’ experience able to earn an annual six-figure sum (Pilbara miners pictured)
In Queensland alone this month, 942 resources sector jobs are being advertised paying between $100,000 and $200,000.
Mackay, in the state’s north, had 394 or 42 per cent, of these lucrative positions, with high-paying jobs also on offer in Brisbane, Gladstone and Townsville.
Mining-related companies in Western Australia are also competing for skilled talent, with a heavy-duty, fly-in, fly-out mechanic job in the remote Pilbara region being advertised with a salary of up to $200,000 a year.
Experience isn’t necessarily an impediment to a six-figure salary with a heavy-duty diesel mechanic position in Kalgoorlie, in the state’s south, paying $55 an hour, for someone with a minimum of just two years’ experience, which works out at $114,400 a year.
The Minerals Council of Australia estimates workers in the resources sector have average salaries of $140,000, a level which is 71 per cent higher than the average Australian full-time salary of $82,000.
In Queensland this month, 942 resources sector jobs being advertised paying more than $100,000. Mackay, in the state’s north, had 394 or 42 per cent, of these lucrative positions
A whopping 95 per cent of them are full-time.
Online employment group Seek data showed advertised salaries surged by 16 per cent, from $106,271 in June 2017 to $123,430 in mid-2018, as the number of job ads rose by 32 per cent.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane, a former federal Liberal resources minister, said 70 per cent of mining industry jobs in his state paid six-figure salaries.
‘That means you can have a high-paying job in the resources sector and the great lifestyle of regional Queensland, away from the rat race in the city,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
The Minerals Council of Australia estimates resources sector workers have average salaries of $140,000, which is 71 per cent higher than Australia’s average $82,000 full-time salary
Workers wanting to live close to Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, can move to the Hunter Valley, where more than 12,600 resources jobs are on offer, New South Wales Minerals Council data showed.
In Singleton, a two-hour drive north of Sydney, a fourth-year apprentice plant mechanic job is being advertised with a starting package of $100,000 a year.
The higher salaries of Western Australia, however, are continuing to lure workers away from NSW.
CommSec economist Ryan Felsman said home construction workers in New South Wales and Victoria were relocating to Western Australia as mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP ramped up iron-ore projects in the Pilbara.
‘They’ve got their new, big projects commencing and likely to soak up some of those construction workers and lift broader activity,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘You’re seeing that reflected in job vacancies, particularly skilled job vacancies.
Online employment group Seek data showed advertised salaries surged by 16 per cent, from $106,271 in June 2017 to $123,430 in mid-2018, as the number of job ads rose by 32 per cent
‘We’re seeing those emerging skills shortages certainly in the mining sector and the higher-paying jobs.
‘There could be a bit of a relocation take place if the downturn in residential construction sees some of that excess labour relocate back to the West.’
Projects mining for iron ore, used to make steel, are Western Australia’s biggest resources sector employer, accounting for half of the industry’s 52,869 people, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia said.
Australia’s resource exports have doubled since the 2006-07 financial year, despite the global financial crisis.
Exports of minerals, metals, coal and petroleum hit a high of $220 billion in 2017-18, up 11 per cent from the previous financial year.
Raw materials account for 55 per cent of Australia’s export of goods and services.
Since mid-2016, thermal coal and iron ore prices have recovered, after the key commodity values collapsed from 2013.
Iron ore prices plummeted from $US130 a metric tonne to levels just $US35, causing a spike in retrenchments.
They have since recovered to $US68 a metric tonne.