Where you live can affect what you can earn, Cara Jenkin reports
THE best pay packets may have nothing to do with your skills, the job or the employer but where in Australia workers are most in demand.
Analysis undertaken by CareerOne finds Western Australia’s mining boom continues to skew salaries across trades and professions, making most jobs in that state the best paid in the nation.
In some roles, such as electricians in the mining industry and accountants, workers in that state on comparatively low salaries are earning more than the top earners at interstate companies.
The analysis of 25 key jobs, based on salary surveys completed by major recruitment firms this year as well as industry comparison tools, reveals mining also is pushing up salaries in some roles in Queensland, where boilermakers, auto electricians, electrical and mechanical engineers, ICT staff and HR managers earn more than their interstate colleagues.
New South Wales is where mine maintenance superintendents, personal trainers, sales representatives, chief financial officers, civil construction engineers and registered nurses can earn the highest salaries.
In Victoria, executive assistants, electricians, account managers and ICT staff earn more than those interstate.
South Australian boilermakers working in the mining industry receive salaries greater than their interstate counterparts while the top salaries of accountants are on par with those received in NSW and Victoria.
Nationally, recruitment firm Hays finds the mining and resources industry is the standout in providing pay rises, with 55 per cent of employers increasing salaries between 3 and 6 per cent and 20 per cent of bosses increasing salaries by more than 6 per cent.
Slightly behind them are professional services employers, with 53 per cent awarding salary increases of between 3 and 6 per cent while 17 per cent of bosses provided more than a 6 per cent pay rise.
‘‘ Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory are firmly in the express lanes of Australia’s economy and there is no denying that the surging staffing needs of organisations involved in Australia’s resources boom have driven the jobs market forward over the past year,’’ managing director Nick Deligiannis says.
‘‘ Despite negative headlines, the reality is that organ- isations across most sectors are hiring and specialist professionals remain in short supply – both within and without our mining and resources industry.’’
SA typically has lower-paid salaries than most other states, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing the average salary of $1224 is the lowest of all mainland states.
But rather than being a negative, lower salaries can be a positive for some workers says Talent2 team leader Mark Johnson. ‘‘ I think there’s a lot more opportunity for Gen Ys,’’ he says.
‘‘ There’s less competition. There are more Gen Xs in Sydney, for example, and Gen Ys competing for those jobs offering more money.’’
It means professional workers can gain greater work experience and climb up the corporate rung more quickly in SA in a trend likened to being a ‘‘ big fish in a small pond’’.
There also is greater longterm stability in South Austra- lian salaries, Johnson says.
‘‘ In the past few years in accounting, for example, salaries have been going up and going down everywhere else but in Adelaide it’s been a non-feature – they have stayed about the same,’’ he says. ‘‘ I think (salaries in) Adelaide will always tick along nicely.’’
Salary growth largely is driven by supply and demand.
A localised shortage of boilermakers and electrical and mechanical engineers for the mining industry is why those workers earn top dollar in SA.
Other high salaries on par with interstate, such as for accountants at large companies, often are paid to senior staff to encourage them to relocate from Sydney and Melbourne.
Some major international and national companies that are rumoured to be setting up offices in Adelaide in coming months may provide opportunity for higher salaries for professionals. The effects of SA’s older population, however, may see average salaries continue to remain lower than those interstate.
To replace senior workers retiring, many companies will hire younger or less experienced staff who cannot command a high salary.
Engineering, construction and labour-hire company Montica general manager Nick Mastrocinque says there is strong demand for boilermakers, or metal fabricators as they are now called, which is only expected to increase as mining activity expands in SA.
‘‘ We’re struggling to fill that (demand). If that’s happening now, once the boom really does hit we’ll really be struggling,’’ he says.
‘‘ There is some demand for apprentices as well.
‘‘ We encourage all employers to look at putting on apprentices for the future.’’
He says there is good money in metal fabrication to attract staff.
‘‘ Some subcontractors have offered more money to try and lure people in. A lot of (boilermakers) chase the money,’’ he says.