VANCOUVER, September 15, 2011— In 2011, Canadian mining CEOs are enjoying high salaries on par with 2010’s blockbuster year for compensation and there has been a rise in mining CEO millionaires this year, according to the 2011 Mining Industry Salary Survey by Coopers Consulting and PwC.
In 2011, the average annual base salary for Canadian mining CEOs was $486,000 in 2011, similar to $480,000 in 2010. Of the 95% of CEOs who were eligible for cash bonuses, 85% reported receiving payouts averaging 76% of their base pay (compared to 88% in 2010 and 61% in 2009) with the highest cash incentive percentage totalling 300% of base pay. The average actual cash bonus payout in 2011 was $412,000, compared to $540,000 in 2010. The average total cash compensation package (including annual base salary and cash bonus) was $826,000, similar to $840,000 reported in 2010 and well above the $670,000 figure seen in 2009.
This year’s survey has seen a rise in Canadian CEOs earning in excess of $1 million:
“Mining CEOs are still riding a wave of high salaries and cash bonuses on the backs of overall solid company performances and strong prices for certain commodities over the past year,” says Lou Vujanich, survey leader and principal of Coopers Consulting. “The question is now whether these high salaries and bonuses, which are tied to company and market performance, will remain as strong next year.”
“What kept compensation from increasing dramatically are rising operational costs and some softening in the equity markets,” adds Len Boggio survey contributor and senior partner in PwC’s mining practice. “Although the Canadian mining sector is overall very stable and in a position for continued growth, the confused capital markets could ultimately impact the sector and put a lid on compensation.”
High salaries lower down the hierarchy
In 2011, across the full range of salaried staff positions found at a mine site, over 80% of positions are eligible for some form of incentive plan, such as an annual cash bonus, gainshare plan or productivity improvement plans. This is a significant change compared to as recently as 2002 when eligibility hovered at only 59%.
“The increase in compensation incentives for salaried positions lower down in the hierarchy is a philosophical change for Canadian-based mining companies,” says Vujanich. “Fierce competition to attract and retain qualified mining professionals across the spectrum of positions is driving up compensation costs for mining companies.”
“For mining professionals, the competition for talent and uptick in compensation paints a positive picture for job seekers,” adds Boggio. “To keep up with competition and to attract talent to work in rural or remote areas, companies are raising the incentives for potential and current employees, which often translate into more financial reward.”
The study also found new graduate mining engineers can reasonably expect a starting salary in the range of $70,000—a figure that jumps to about $75,000 after one to two years of experience. By region, Western Canadian mining operations generally pay more than their Eastern Canada counterparts. Compensation data also shows companies that mine coal, industrial and other minerals generally pay more across the board, while base metal mining operations generally pay less.
The Coopers Consulting and PwC survey this year covers 53 typical salaried corporate office positions, 58 mine site positions and 14 field exploration positions. The 2011 Mining Industry Salary Survey database contains information on 17,329 incombents—7,800 are based in Canada and 9,529 from the United States. In total, 154 North American companies are represented in the 2011 update (of the 154, 111 provided Canada based incumbent data while 68 provided United States based incumbent data). The figures are current to the end of the second quarter of 2011.
For more information about the report findings, contact Lou Vujanich.
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About Coopers Consulting
Coopers Consulting Ltd. is a B.C.-registered limited liability company founded in 2002 by the former national director and three principals of the Mining Management Consulting practice of PwC. The principals of Coopers Consulting have significant mining industry experience and offer a wide range of management consulting services to the global mining community.
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