Senior safety executives' salaries have tumbled

Monday, 08 March, 2010

The 2010 SafeSearch annual salary survey showed the average remuneration package for a general manager of safety fell 21% from $280,000 to $221,000.

The Managing Director of the SafeSearch specialist search and recruitment business, Julie Honore, says the global financial crisis ended a string of salary rises averaging 10% a year for senior workplace safety professionals: “The 2010 SafeSearch annual salary survey demonstrates that when times get tough, talk of safety being a core part of business may be thrown aside.

“When cost-cutting kicks in, companies that only pay lip service to safety readily make safety roles redundant, particularly at the general manager level. With more senior people on the market and fewer roles available, candidates very quickly adjust their price. This is precisely what happened over the past 12 months.”

Honore believes, however, that safety remuneration packages will soon be on the rise: “Western Australia and Queensland are already starting to experience skills shortages and it won’t be long before other states follow. Companies anticipating salary hikes, particularly in the highly paid resource sector, have tied their people in to long-term incentives.”

The 2010 SafeSearch annual salary survey collected data from 59 companies, primarily drawn from the ASX 200 and representing industries as diverse as resources, manufacturing and telecommunications through to banking and government.

Other key findings from the survey report included:

  • For three consecutive years, the health, safety and environment profession has thrived on 10% year-on-year average increases to salary packages.
  • In 2008/9, GMs HSE earned an average total actual remuneration (TAR) of $279,735; this year has seen a drop to $221,509. Last year, the total actual remuneration in the top quartile was $307,500, whereas this year it is $247,350.
  • Salary packages for safety officers defied the trend, recording a 6% increase from $73,099 last year to $77,805 this year.
  • At the entry level of safety officer, there has been an increase from 31 to 50% of respondents holding some form of formal qualification.
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