The United Kingdom has an impressive history when it comes to mining. There is evidence that mining was going on in the United Kingdom as far back as around 2200-850 BC during the Bronze Age. This was followed by lead and copper which brought the Romans to Britain, with the first lead smelter being erected in Northern Wales in the 15th century. Galena, an important lead ore mineral, was then mined from deep mines located in Scotland and Wales. Lead, tin, and aluminium were then refined from galena. Coal and iron followed during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Although coal and iron ore are no longer mined in significant quantities in the United Kingdom, tin and lead are still being mined in the United Kingdom. There are also many types of industrial minerals that are found in the United Kingdom. The most common being sand, gravel and cement. According to Wikipedia, with 80 quarries, Tarmac is the United Kingdom’s largest producer of crushed rock, sand and gravel.

So how do Mining Geologists in the United Kingdom, salaries compare to those in other regions?

When looking at the results from our salary survey it appears that Mining Geologists in the United Kingdom may be getting the short end of the stick when it comes to remuneration. According to the results from our salary survey, Geologists in the United Kingdom with 1 – 5 years’ experience, are earning on an annual basis, $39K on the 25%ile, $54K for the median, and $69K on the 75%ile. If you compare these salaries with those in the United States and Canada, they are a fair amount lower. Geologists in Canada, with 1 – 5 years’ experience, can expect to earn, on an annual basis, $69K on the 25%ile, a median of $78K and $86K on the 75%ile. In the USA, Geologists with 1 – 5 years’ experience, on an annual basis, are earning on the 25%ile around $64K, a median of $73K and on the 75%ile around $85K. However where one really starts to notice the difference is when you compare the Geologists in the United Kingdom’s salaries to those in Australia. It has been noted that Geologists in Australia generally earn substantially more than those in other regions, including Canada and the United States, because of the high cost of living. However Geologists in Australia appear to be earning almost double those in the United Kingdom, with Geologists in Australia, who have 1 – 5 years’ experience, on an annual basis, on the 25%ile are earning around $88K, a median of $100K and on the 75%ile around $120K.

It seems that the trend is that Geologists from the United Kingdom, who are working overseas, tend to be earning considerably more than those based in the United Kingdom. Salary ranges also are dependent on how demanding the work location is, factors such as isolated regions, with poor weather conditions generally offer better salaries. Generally the more remote the area, the higher the allowance, with additional benefits such as housing and fly in/fly out.

It does seem that there are a fair amount of Geologists from the United Kingdom who are working overseas, particularly in South America, Australia and Africa, and those working overseas are earning extremely competitive salaries. This is normally attributed to the expatriate factor however, where expatriates are notoriously paid more, because of the personal challenges they face, and the sacrifices they make in their personal lives.

I have heard that the cost of living in Australia is much higher than it is in other regions, including the United Kingdom, which may account for this huge difference in the Geologist salaries that are being paid.

It would be interesting however to hear from those working in the United Kingdom, as to how they feel about the massive difference in salaries? Does the difference in the cost of living between the United Kingdom and Australia, warrant these massive differences in salary? Is the cost of living not also high in the United Kingdom? Does it really cost so much less to live in the United Kingdom, than it does in Australia? Or are Geologists in the United Kingdom being short changed?

2 Responses to “Geologists in the United Kingdom earning nearly half of those in Australia”

  1. jason

    Hello Susan,
    What are the licencing requirements in those countries? Do they limit my choices of having a high paying job right after undergraduate school? What are the requirements for those (both for a pay and a licence)? Thank you!

  2. Sally

    Australian salaries can be bundled which can make them look higher – superannuation (tax reduced contributions towards retirement) are often matched up to 9% in Australia and that will get bundled into the ‘salary’ figure. There may also be signing bonus’ and a certain remuneration that goes towards you having a field vehicle to use.

    The cost of living in Perth/Western Australia is quite eye-popping – for Australians. It has risen dramatically in the last 5 years, and rental accommodation costs can be steep due to the lack of it – a lot of miners are now choosing to live in Asia and commute to Australia as the cost of living is cheaper.

    For the British people the costs would appear to be the same. Taxes are slightly more in Australia and the amount most geologists earn there is going to put them in or close to the top tax bracket.

    But at the end of the day… The geologists working in Australia definitely have some of the best rotations in the world and the salaries are more than comfortable.


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