A geophysicist, engineer, nurse and public servant are just some of the professions who have experienced the biggest salary drops in the space of a year.
A geophysicist, engineer, nurse and public servant are just some of the professions who have experienced the biggest salary drops in the space of a year.

Jobs that suffered biggest salary drops

GEOPHYSICISTS, engineers, nurses and public servants are just some of the professions that have experienced the biggest salary drops in the space of a year, according to new research.

The comparative site finder.com.au examined the most recent Australian Taxation Office (ATO) tax data to find the professions whose salaries have decreased the most, for both men and women, between 2015 and 2016.

For males, the profession with the highest salary decrease is a geophysicist or oceanographer, with a 10 per cent drop from $171,247 to $154,099.

For females, it's nurses, down 8.1 per cent from $66,956 to $61,504.

Coming in equal second were petroleum engineers (males, down 6 per cent to $191,101) and plant operators (females, down 6.1 per cent to $83,515). Public servants came in third with a 3.7 per cent salary drop from $77,072 to $74, 201.

Petroleum engineers remain the highest earning job on the top 10 list despite the drop, while for women it was chief information officer at $105,268. It experienced the least salary shift with just a 0.7 per cent decrease from 2015 to 2016, as did mining engineers ($170,103 to $164,444) down 3.7 per cent.

Pay decreases in fly-in fly-out (FIFO) professions like mining (salary for mining engineers dropped from $170,103 to $164,444, down 3.7 per cent) were attributed to more people taking up casual or part-time work, according to insurance expert at finder.com.au Bessie Hassan.

"Professions that rely on shift work are quite volatile in terms of salary due to trends in shorter shifts or lower wages per hour," Ms Hassan said. "This could be why we're seeing nurses and security workers on the list."

Gold Coast local, Ryan, who spent the past five years working in mines across Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, said the pay isn't what it used to be.

He believes the drop is directly related to workers losing rights.

"It's all about the bottom line - big companies making their cash, hitting their quotas. As long as they hit their deadlines and get the job done, the welfare of workers takes a back seat," he told news.com.au

"The government is getting rid of penalty rates and if you're full-time there, that's where you make most of your money."

FIFOs used to generally earn about $40 for a regular hour, then $60 each hour per shift after they'd worked eight hours.

On weekends, they were paid double time at about $80 an hour and many miners came to depend on that huge salary.

But companies have cut back, offering workers a flat rate of $55 an hour, no matter how long or what day they work.

Ms Hassan said while petroleum engineers and miners' salaries have decreased, with a higher demand for resources, it's likely they'll go up again.

From 2012 to 2016, the mining industry experienced a severe downturn, culling close to 60,000 jobs and making full-time work almost impossible to come by.

But the latest data from SEEK has shown that the mining industry is picking up again with the sector putting out 32 per cent more jobs this June than it did for June 2017.

It still remains as one of the highest paid jobs in the country.

Other high earning jobs on the list included a driller's assistant/oil rig worker which experienced a 5.1 per cent drop to $101,320 and geologist/scientist dropping 1.4 per cent, to $99,498.

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