Mining professionals in Australia working for less money & latest gender pay gap stats

Published: 28/11/2014

According to a study released Tuesday by the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), average salaries for mineral professionals are down 19 per cent on 2012 levels.

It also found minerals professionals working at the most senior levels are earning less in 2014 than they did in 2008 – even without adjusting for inflation.

However, working hours have increased by an average of four hours a week longer than a year ago at the same time as unemployment increased to 12 per cent.

AusIMM chief Michael Catchpole said the research shows the impacts the commodity price downturn is having on mining professionals. “Minerals professionals have experienced a roller-coaster with strong job opportunities and salaries growth during the minerals boom, and a sudden and significant downward adjustment in the last two years,” Catchpoole said. “Our research paints clear warning signals that minerals professionals are being burned by the boom to bust cycle of the minerals sector.”

The research also revealed there is still a massive gender pay gap in the industry with female mining professionals earning 27 per cent less than their male counterparts.

“To ensure that in the future those companies are not denying themselves some of the best talent within the country, by having such a glaring gap between what males and females are paid to do the same work,” Michael Catchpole said. “It’s particularly large in the senior career positions and we’re finding the pay gap has increased over a period of time.”

He is calling on the industry to address the problem. “Companies should conduct a pay equity audit right across their national ranks and take immediate steps to address this problem,” he said. He said if something was not done the problem would get worse.

The findings reinforce what the new Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) report released Monday shows: women are under-represented in senior mining industry roles.

Only 2.7% of mining CEOs are female professionals, who face an increasing gender pay gap with seniority.

Aussie miners working harder for less money

Lynn Olssen, chair of the AusIMM Women in Mining Network said the survey results are very disappointing. “It is unacceptable that the gender pay gap remains so wide,” Olssen said. “The single most important action employers can take to address the gender pay gap is to conduct a pay equality audit.”

Professional Employment & Remuneration Survey 2014

How are minerals professionals faring in today’s labour market?

In June 2014, more than 20 per cent (3334) of AusIMM members completed the annual Professional Employment and Remuneration Survey, the single largest response to any AusIMM survey. This allowed the Institute to generate solid data that gives strong insights into members’ current employment and salary experiences as well as their future expectations.

The analysis from the survey is used as a key basis on which to engage with stakeholders and continue to advocate effectively for members to governments, businesses and other key stakeholders.

Other Key findings


  • unemployment among Australian minerals professionals is 12.2 per cent
  • minerals professionals now face double Australia’s national unemployment rate (Australia’s trend unemployment rate was 6.1 per cent in July 2014, ABS Cat 6202.0)
  • geology professionals are facing the highest level of unemployment at 15.1 per cent
  • one in ten minerals professionals were made redundant in the 2013-14 year, reflecting a highly volatile employment market
  • minerals professionals commonly report strong pressures to work more hours for the same pay (17.5 per cent); to accept lower pay or conditions for the same job (16.6 per cent); and to accept reduced working hours (8.4 per cent)
  • less than half (49.1 per cent) of AusIMM’s Student Members are confident they will find work as a minerals professional when they graduate
  • more than half of AusIMM members (50.8 per cent) believe there will be fewer professional job opportunities in the minerals sector in the coming year.

Future outlook

  • confidence that the industry will improve has decreased from 19.1 in 2013, to 18.5 per cent in 2014
  • students’ confidence in finding employment on graduation has decreased, from 57.3 to 49.1 per cent.


Data Analysis


Media releases

Media coverage

The Professional Employment Survey findings released in September 2014 have received widespread coverage. Some of the articles and interviews are available via the following links:

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