Demand for mining workers sees wages surge

After years of slashing jobs in the mining sector, industry leaders are now offering wages bordering on all-time highs in a bid to gain employees.

According to statistics posted on Seek, wages in the Pilbara region have skyrocketed by 35% in the past month, averaging a yearly pay of $136,000. This increase brings the average wage just shy of the pay rates going during the big boom of mining in 2012.[1]

This surge is warmly welcomed after the mining sector hit a six-year dip of $101,000 in July last year, as shown from average advertised Seek salaries in Port Hedland, Karratha and the Pilbara.

Nick Evans, of The West Australian, suggests that this is due to mining companies expanding their operations or building new mines to replace the pre-existing ones.[2] Evans continues to report that employment on drilling rigs have seen the most remarkable growth, followed by geologist and exploration positions and truck and equipment operators coming in third.

If you dipped out of the industry when the low hit in 2012, now might be the time to get back to WA and reap the rewards of the wage hike.

Industry giants – BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group – claim to be expanding their operations and plan to spend billions in the coming years to make this happen.

However, the weighty pay packet may not be enough to draw in experienced professionals from the stability of their jobs in the East.

“Employees may have moved to find work on Eastern States’ infrastructure projects and that seems very likely to persist for some time to come,” says NAB economics director, David de Garis, as reported by The West.

Workers are reportedly reluctant to move from the security of their jobs after mass sackings during the last industry shake-up, a rise in labour hire and a scepticism that the giant mining companies aren’t considering the future of their workforce.

Written by Amelia Fynes-Clinton for Globe Group.

[1] Seek, Australia’s Booming Industries, 2018,, viewed 07 September 2018.

[2] N Evans, ‘Wages rise to boom levels as miners battle to recruit staff’, The West Australian, 4 September 2018, available from, viewed 07 September 2018.