Drives de­mand

Where you live can af­fect what you can earn, Cara Jenkin re­ports

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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.

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