VANCOUVER—Canadian mining company CEOs saw their average total cash compensation decline in 2012 as average base pay rates remain flat from the previous year, according to a new survey.
But average annual bonus payments dropped, according to the 2012 Mining Industry Salary Survey by Coopers Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The Coopers Consulting-PwC survey revealed that the average total mining CEO cash compensation package—annual base salary plus cash bonus—was $767,000 in 2012, down seven per cent from $826,000 in 2011.
The average annual base salary for Canadian mining CEOs was $490,000 in 2012, almost unchanged from $486,000 in 2011.
Meanwhile, the average annual CEO bonus paid in 2012 dropped 31 per cent to $370,000 from the $540,000 reported in 2011.
Of the 97 per cent of CEOs who reported being eligible for a cash bonus payment, only 76 per cent actually received such a payment in 2012, and the average bonus was 67 per cent of base salary.
“Board Compensation Committees, driven by regulatory changes and stakeholder demands for greater accountability and transparency, have been implementing refined performance criteria for CEOs over the last several years,” survey leader and principal of Coopers Consulting Lou Vujanich said in a statement.
Staff incentive plans becoming more common
In 2012, across the full range of salaried staff positions found at a mine site, over 80 per cent of positions continue to be eligible for some form of incentive plan, such as an annual cash bonus, gainshare plan or productivity improvement plans, according to the survey.
This is a significant change compared to ten years ago, when eligibility hovered at only 59 per cent.
“Market conditions and commodity prices notwithstanding, the increase in the prevalence of compensation incentives for salaried positions lower down in the hierarchy is a reflection of the continued fierce competition to attract and retain qualified mining professionals across the spectrum of positions,” Vujanich said.
The study also found new graduate mining engineers can reasonably expect a starting salary in the range of $70,000, a figure consistent with new graduate hire rates in 2011.
After one to two years of experience, the figure jumps to about $76,000, with fully qualified mining engineers potentially earning an annual base pay in the vicinity of $90,000.
By region, Western Canadian mining operations generally pay more than their Eastern Canada counterparts.
Compensation data also shows companies that mine coal and industrial and other minerals generally pay more across the board, while base metal mining operations generally pay less.