On the plane from EKATI, I overheard a mine geologist bemoaning his lot. “I could have become a miner and earned more, but I wanted to do geology and now look at me,” he said before the noise of the plane drowned him out. I thought of this lad when I came across the following un-readable graph:
Let me try and explain this graph which has some interesting information in it.
Along the X-Axis is plotted the number of years a geologist has been working. Along the Y-Axis is plotted the number of dollars a geologist with X-years’ of experience thinks he/she should be paid. The big name for this is Salary Expectation Versus Years In the Industry (SEYI).
Now you probably cannot read the numbers very well. For that I say sorry, but I cannot get a better, bigger version into this blog, and the creator of the graph won’t give me a link that I can pass on to a better, more legible version. Here is what the graph compiler writes about this graph:
An analysis of InfoMine’s proprietary salary database showed that the average starting salary expectation for a geologist in Canada in 2010 was around USD $60,000. It also showed that over time, Canadian geologists expect an annual salary increase of around 4%, more than twice the Canadian inflation rate of ~ 1.8% (2010). With the increase of industry experience, the salary gap between the 20th and 80th percentile increased significantly. It grew from USD $25,000 at the beginning of a geologist’s career to more than $80,000 with 20 years of experience. This gap is most likely a result of the job setting (office versus field/remote), as well as of the industry type, such as the differences between government and academic positions versus industry (exploration, mine service, mine production), and by commodity. Individual expectations in this study were in line with surveys issued by the CostMine division, including “Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits, 2010 survey Results“, with average salaries of Cnd $78,000 and $104,000 for mine geologists and chief geologists, respectively.
Kind of tough to understand, so here is my explanation:
The average geologist, just starting his/her career in Canada (mining or otherwise, I presume) expects a salary of $60,000. This does no mean that is what they get: there is always a disconnect between expectation and achievement; between what you think you should get and what you actually get.
Now for the 4 percent number. Seems if you read the graph a-right, the longer the geologist has been working, the more they expect as a salary. Again this does not mean that they get more, just that they hope to get more if they change jobs–jump ship to put it simply. The rate of increase of expected salary is 4 percent per year.
Now as pointed out that is more than twice the rate of inflation. So either geologists are in deep illusion about salaries or they are being paid sufficiently more to inflate their expectations. Or maybe they are just setting impossible goals when out job hunting.
As for the gap between the 20 and the 80 percentile. The quote attributes this to different jobs as a geologist. For example a geologist with an easy job in a depressed sector may have lower salary expectations than somebody in a booming sector. At least that is how I read the quote.
Of course there are other possible explanations. Once you have been working as a geologist for twenty years, you pretty much know your worth and the industry know your ability. Maybe this gap between the 20 and the 80 percentile is a reflection of personal objectivity regarding one’s ability. Some geologists just know they are good, and obviously some geologists just know they are not. Hence some expect more money when seeking a new jobs, and some acknowledge that they will have to settle for less.
Still $80,000 is a big difference in expectation between competent and incompetent geologists. Maybe though that is a reflection of reality. If all the geologist can do is log core after 20 years why pay him as much as a geologist who can find a great new ore body to mine?
I am told there are many more graphs like this, and the promise is someday to make them public. In the meantime, if you are curious, email Jan Pfeifer firstname.lastname@example.org> and ask him for information, advice, and help.
As for the correlation to actual salaries earned by mining geologists as tabulated by CostMine, all I can say is take a look at the many, far more detailed postings on this blog of publically-available information about mining salaries. You can find them all by way of a simple search using the Search box above. Alternatively here are links to a few:
To end, a picture that proves that if you earn enough, you can stand on a beautiful beach having your photo takne by a beautiful girl!