Krystee Muscat from Eton on her second day learning how to be a dump truck operator at Global Product Search.
Krystee Muscat from Eton on her second day learning how to be a dump truck operator at Global Product Search. Campbell Gellie

Tradies' wages on the way up

AS THE rest of the nation stagnates with a 0.2 per cent wage increase, Mackay tradies are raking it in, with reports of up to 10 per cent increases in wages over the past year.

And major Mackay labour hire company executives believe pay packets will keep growing fatter this year.

The increase is being driven by a skills shortage that has mining businesses and their contractors scouring Queensland and interstate to fill positions.

Global Products Search managing director Warren McGraw said he could fill 150 jobs for experienced miners and tradies tomorrow.

 

Global Product Search manager Warren McGraw in the training room where 'cleanskins' are told what to expect on a mine site.
Global Product Search manager Warren McGraw in the training room where 'cleanskins' are told what to expect on a mine site.

The search comes on the heels of a resurgence in the coal price from a low of $80 a tonne in early 2016 to more than $150 a tonne in 2017.

"We just can't find enough experienced people to fill our contracts that we already have," Mr McGraw said.

"The money hasn't come back to where it was but it has increased."

Wage increases depended on the relative scarcity of the skills in demand, Mr McGraw said.

Dump truck drivers were seeing the smallest rises while fitters, boilermakers, multi-skilled operators such as excavator and shovel operators were raking in the most.

Mr McGraw said at the start of 2017 a fitter was on about $50 an hour and they were now getting paid about $60 an hour.

Another Mackay recruitment company executive, who asked not to be named due to the business's contracts, also agreed wages had gone up about 10 per cent.

The need to fill job vacancies has Mr McGraw training "cleanskins", those without experience, on his Paget dump truck simulator.

Yesterday, Krystee Muscat, of Eton, was on her second day training to be a dump truck driver.

The 20-year-old, who worked as a teachers aide, said the better pay was part of the reason she switched jobs. "I show horses internationally and now I no long have to work two jobs to afford my hobby," she said.



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