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Professional skills shortages to drive up salaries

Key survey findings

(2012/2013 Michael Page International Salary and Employment Forecast Report)

  • Nearly half of all employers surveyed (46%) believe there will be an overall professional skills shortage in the next 12 months.
  • 84% of respondents working within Mining & Resources forecast a shortage of skilled workers in this sector in the coming year.
  • 65% of all survey respondents believe skills shortages will cause salaries to rise above the inflation rate.
  • Skills shortages and salary increases expected to be most prevalent in Mining & Resources and related areas (Oil & Gas and Construction).

17 July 2012: A shortage of skilled professionals in Australia is expected to drive an increase in salaries over the coming year, according to the findings of the 2012/13 Michael Page International Salary and Employment Forecast Report, Australia

The latest report, based on the survey responses of nearly 1,600 employers nationally, reveals 46% of all employers surveyed forecast skills shortages in the white collar recruitment market and 65% believe these skills shortages will cause salaries to rise above the inflation rate in the next 12 months.

In particular, growth in the Mining & Resources and related sectors will continue to impact Australia’s white collar employment market as sustained project volume creates increased demand for skilled professionals across a number of areas. The survey findings reveal 84% of respondents working for Mining & Resources companies predict a professional skills shortage in this sector in the coming 12 months, putting pressure on salaries and driving them up for these professionals.

Phillip Guest, Regional Managing Director for Michael Page International, Australia and New Zealand, says the survey findings illustrate the clear impact the Mining and Resources boom is having over the medium to long-term, particularly in the resources-rich states of Western Australia and Queensland.

“The level of project activity in the Mining & Resources sector, and the size and scale of many of these, is having a direct impact on Australia’s white collar recruitment market. Not only is demand for skilled professionals in this sector outweighing supply and creating skills shortages, particularly for all types of engineers, geologists and operations managers, it is also impacting other related sectors such as Construction,” he says.

While the strength in the Mining & Resources sector is compensating for weakness in some areas of others, such as Financial Services and Retail, overall Australia’s professional employment market has remained relatively stable and this sentiment is likely to be ongoing over the next 12 months.

The survey findings also reveal that the majority of employers (64%) will award average salary increases of between 3 and 6%, and 69% of surveyed employers will vary increases based on performance. These findings are comparative with those in the 2011/12 Michael Page International Salary and Employment Forecast Report for Australia.

“Most employers will look to award pay increases over the next 12 months in an effort to retain their best talent. As the professional employment market holds steady over the year, there will be a continued focus on talent attraction and retention strategies of which salary remains a key component,” says Mr Guest. “As skills shortages continue, particularly in buoyant sectors, we will most likely see salaries increase further over the next 12 months.”