MANY fly in, fly out (FIFO) workers are willing to take a pay cut of up to 27 per cent to survive the mining downturn, according to a new live market report.
According to online labour market website FIFOBids, workers in management, health, safety and environment and geology had been most affected, with geologists willing to decrease their rates from $71 per hour to $52/hr, and management workers from $80/hr to $67/hr.
“[The] downturn in mining and resources in Australia, as well as delays in approvals of major projects, has put downward pressure on demand for key skills and wages,” the report stated.
Since last year the number of geologists in the field doubled as graduates entered the market – riding the coat-tails of the skills shortage – but “they can’t find a job and most exploration companies are holding their breath or closing down or deferring exploration”.
The data showed the average annual salary fell from $140,000 to $103,000. Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief executive Simon Bennison said the figures showed that the industry was experiencing difficulty in raising equity capital and workers were feeling the flow-on effects.
“The industry has seen a lack of investor confidence in exploration companies that has made access to equity finance almost impossible,” he said.
Across all professions, the average rate in the FIFOBids market fell by 11.5 per cent between December 2012 and June this year.
“It is an indication that the skills shortage has really come off its peak, and the balance of power is moving back towards employers,” the report said.
However, wages for workers specialising in electrical trades rose from $55 to $59, indicating a high demand from the construction of major projects across the country.
Mechanical tradespeople and engineers had experienced wage stability, the report showed.