The West

Pay rise for skilled workers

Local skilled workers suffered a drop in their hourly wage rate in 2013 but can expect a pay rise this year, according to a survey of 21,000 WA workers.

Recruitment company said its survey showed WA workers lost an average 2.3 per cent of their hourly rate in 2013 in a sluggish labour market.

The worst-hit occupations were in IT and communications, which sustained hourly wage drops of almost 13 per cent over the year, while lawyers, scientists and geologists also experienced substantial falls.

But commercial director Mike Haywood says pay rates started to improve in September when economic optimism got a fillip from a change in Federal Government.

Dr Haywood predicted that hourly rates this year would be restored to 2012 levels, following a 2 per cent increase.

"2013 was not a good year for skilled workers," Dr Haywood said. "But things have picked up all over the country, particularly in WA and Queensland, largely on the back of improvements in oil and gas."

But not all occupations suffered last year, with tradies, artists, designers and business managers among a handful of occupations to enjoy hourly increases.

Dr Haywood said the there was evidence to suggest mining recruitment had stabilised, though some professions within the sector, such as geology, would continue to suffer from lower wages.

The trend showed activity in the oil and gas sector was expected to climb, helping to balance salaries for the engineering sector.

Employment in healthcare was also expected to kick up in 2014.

Dr Haywood said the labour market was showing genuine signs of vitality.

A third of the connections facilitated through, in which employers browse anonymous resumes, ended in a job placement.

More than two-thirds of all requests from employers to be put in touch with the workers behind the resumes were accepted within a day.

The concept involved posting both anonymous and personal CVs on a virtual postboard.

Employers seek to be connected to the workers behind the CVs through the website.

Workers who do not respond to requests for a so-called connection within a day are put at the bottom of the virtual pin-up board. The more active users benefit from having their resume posted at the top of the list.

The West Australian

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