The resources sector is driving strong demand for OHS practitioners in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, according to recent salary reports.
In Queensland, for example, organisations are facing an acute shortage of tertiary-qualified health, safety and environment specialists as well as HR superintendent professionals with heavy industry experience who are willing to live in remote or regional locations, according to a Robert Walters' HR market update.
"Salaries will increase across the board, but the largest increases (in some cases up to 20 per cent) will be for temps required to assist with projects or back-fill where permanent incumbents have been seconded to projects; HR and health, safety and environment specialists with relevant industry experience will also see significant increases due to project demands," said the report.
The Brisbane market has seen an increase in hiring across a range of safety specialisations, driven predominantly by the mining, oil and gas, resources and construction sectors as result of major projects being awarded.
"Health, safety and environment specialists at all levels, particularly superintendents and managers, were highly sought-after due to a number of company restructures and project wins in the region," said the report.
"These specialists received significant salary increases due to the shortage of talent in this space."
Similarly, Hudson's 2011 Salary Guide found that the resources sector is driving demand for OHS professionals in South and Western Australia.
As a result, salaries are climbing to pre-global financial crisis levels, with active recruitment and headhunting occurring for people with resources and/or blue collar experience.
The report said the main demand is for generalists with five to eight years of experience, while demand for graduates has also increased.
In NSW, Victoria and Western Australia, OHS managers earn up to $150,000 a year, while OHS managers in Queensland are paid up to $180,000 a year and South Australian managers up to $120,000.
The report also said OHS consultants earn between $90,000 and $120,000 a year in Victoria, while OHS coordinators are paid up to $80,000 a year across all states.