According to the 2008 AusIMM Remuneration and Employment Survey, the skills shortage has resulted in escalating salaries and more flexible work practices, but also longer working hours in mining.
According to AusIMM Chief Executive Michael Catchpole, the survey shows that the skills shortage has several related effects on companies and employees.
“There have been minor gains in retention overall, but our members’ view is that Australia’s professional skills base is stretched to capacity,” Mr Catchpole said.
The evidence of a dire skills shortage remains unchanged from the previous surveys, undertaken in 2005 and 2007. In the latest survey, approximately two thirds of respondents agreed that people at their workplace are under more pressure because of the skills shortage (68.4%), that the skills shortage had left them short staffed (64.5%) or that the skills shortage has meant their employer now pays more for less experienced personnel (66.8).
Salary data is consistent with this view, with an increase of 6.3% in the average salary for all respondents since 2007, to approximately $159,000. The highest increase in salary was at graduate commencement level, with an increase of 9.2%.
“A salary analysis has also shown that the rewards of the mining boom are not spread equally between the genders, with an escalating gender pay gap at the different levels of responsibility in the industry,” Mr Catchpole said.
Professionals are working much longer hours in the current climate of skills shortage, with 73% indicating that they work more than 50 hours per week compared with only 53% in the 2007 Survey. The number of respondents who work at least one hour of overtime per week has jumped from 53% to 64%. On average, respondents work six hours of overtime per week. With high numbers of professionals experiencing work pressures, there appears to be less time available for mentoring or formal professional development.