It’s no secret that many graduates are drawn to the mining sector by the promise of larger salaries than they’d receive in other industries. Happily, this is no misconception—studies have shown that graduate salaries in mining are an average of $30,000 higher than salaries elsewhere.
GradAustralia’s own surveys have found the average entry-level package in the mining sector is $86,000 and the average industry hours are 44 per week, making this the most lucrative industry on a dollar-per-hour basis. Nevertheless, there is still some variation from profession to profession within the mining sector when it comes to salaries. To help you get a sense of what you can expect if you enter this sector, we’ve pulled together some numbers from the Hays Salary Guide related to the more popular graduate specialisations.
Note that, when we present an average entry-level salary as a range, this represents salaries for different levels of accreditation. Generally speaking, people with graduate qualifications (such as a Master’s degree of PhD) will earn more than graduates of Bachelor degrees. Salaries also fluctuate depending on the location of the graduate role.
Mining engineers have the some of the highest starting salaries of all graduates, with an average first-year paycheck of $80,000—100,000 in Western Australia and $55,000—75,000 in South Australia. Salaries for engineers grow considerably with experience. For example, salaries for geotechnical engineers range from $110,000 to $160,000.
The average entry-level salary for an oil and gas geoscientist in Australia is between $69,000 and $90,000. Over time, this can grow to as much as $180,000 per year (though this will usually require graduates to gain extensive experience and assume leadership responsibilities).
Worry not—all that time spent studying mineral composition and the like will pay off, with graduate geologists in mining sector earning between $60,000 and $95,000 per annum. Interestingly, the average salary is highest in the Northern Territory and lowest in Tasmania. This salary grows with specialisation. Hence, senior mine geologists earn up to $170,000 per year, while chief geologists enjoy salaries of as much as $250,000.
The skill of metallurgists are highly valued in the mining industry, a fact reflected in the high median salaries offered to metallurgy graduates. These range from $75,000—95,000 per year in Western Australia to $55,000—75,000 per year in Tasmania. With three to seven years experience, the average salary tops out at $160,000.
Safety is paramount when it comes to mining operations, which often involve dangerous conditions and large amounts of heavy machinery. Consequently, OH&S officers are well compensated for their efforts, receiving a median graduate salary of $70,000, which rises to as much as $120,000 with experience.
Mine surveyors contribute to the creation of maps and plans for new mines, as well as for extensions on existing mines. They also use various measurements to predict the productivity, profitability, safety, and environmental impact of mines. This is an important role with average starting salaries that vary tremendously based on location, from $75,000 in Victoria to $120,000 in New South Wales.