How the mining downturn has affected Geologist salaries in Canada
The mining crisis worldwide has impacted many regions including Canada. Having looked more closely at the situation for Geologists in Australia, where we found that even though there have been job losses, salaries for Geologists have remained pretty constant for those still employed in mining. In some cases, Geologists are earning more now than they were a year or so back and it was encouraging to see that Geologists in Australia are not earning less now than in 2012.
I thought it would be good to do a comparison as to how Geologists in Canada are faring salary wise. We know that a number of small mineral exploration companies have been forced to close down, and that there have been job losses in mining in Canada. 2013 was not a good year for the mining industry worldwide, Canada being no exception. As metal prices fell, companies were forced to slash their costs and there were unfortunately some in mining in Canada that lost their jobs. So far 2014 has not been a particularly good year for those in mining either.
It is important however to always keep the bigger picture in mind, and to remember that it is not all doom and gloom when it comes to mining in Canada. Canada has always held the position as a global mining leader. It has also managed to see over the last decade a 25% increase in the number of new mines and increased employment that went along with this growth. It has however lost some ground recently with Australia taking over from Canada as the top country for global exploration spending. This will obviously affect staffing requirements in Canada, and employment opportunities for those Geologists based in Canada looking for work.
We know that it is not just mining that has been affected by the job market worldwide, it’s all industries. Whilst the recent global recession did not affect Canada as much as some other regions, its unemployment rate standing at 7% is still below what it was pre-recession. What is interesting according to an article on Going Global, is that those under 25 have been particularly hard hit, with an unemployment rate of 13.4%.
They also say that over the next few years, Canada’s economic growth is expected to lag behind that of the United States and that it may do so for the next decade. According to the Going Global report, the reasons for this includes high personal debt levels relative to income, slow business investment growth, a lack of export expansion and a shrinking labour force.
I thought it would be of interest to see how all of these factors have affected Geologist salaries in Canada over the last couple of years and to what extent.
According to the results of our salary survey, it seems that Geologists, who are contracting in Canada and being paid on an hourly rate and who have five years or less experience, are earning less now than they were in 2012. Those on the 25%ile in 2012 were earning CAD28.50 per hour in comparison to 2014 where they are now earning CAD26.50 per hour. In 2012 the median hourly rate was CAD32.57 in comparison to CAD30.00 in 2014.
Those on the 75%ile in 2012 were earning CAD43.75 per hour in comparison to CAD36.87 in 2014.
According to the results of our salary survey, permanently employed Geologists in Canada with 1 – 5 years’ experience were earning an annual basic salary of CAD64 250 on the 25%ile in 2012, in comparison to CAD65 000 in 2014. The median in 2012 was CAD74 250 in comparison to CAD73 000 in 2014, and those on the higher scale of the 75%ile in 2012 were earning CAD81 105 in comparison to CAD80 000 in 2014. It seems from this data, that junior Geologists in Canada’s salaries have remained relatively stable during this period.
According to the results from our salary survey, Geologists with 6 – 10 years’ experience were earning CAD79 500 on the 25%ile in 2012 in comparison to CAD80 000 in 2014. The median in 2012 was CAD 85 000, which has remained unchanged in 2014, and on the 75%ile in 2012 Geologists were earning CAD93 000 they are now earning CAD94 000.
For Geologists with 10 years plus experience in 2012, those on the 25%ile were earning CAD79 400 in comparison to CAD79 000 in 2014, which is virtually unchanged. The median was CAD96 000 in 2012 and is now slightly lower at CAD94 000. What was interesting to note was that those who earned on the higher end of the range on the 75%ile in 2012 averaged CAD119 600, whereas they would be earning CAD130 000 in 2014. So it seems that according our salary survey, the more senior Geologists who were earning in the higher range are earning a fair amount more now that they were in 2012, the rest have not changed much.
It is important that the mining industry manages to retain its Geologists. These skills are going to be very sought after when the tide turns and for an industry that has notoriously battled to find enough qualified professional mining personnel, it is important that mining does not lose Geologists to other industries and that they are paid their worth.