Salaries slashed as jobless line grows

(c) Sunday Mail

EMPLOYERS are tightening the screws on job-seekers with salaries on offer across a range of industries taking a sudden downturn.

As more job-seekers flood the market, base salaries are being reduced, bonuses are being trimmed and boom-time perks are being wiped out, an investigation by The Sunday Mail has found. Figures released last week showed unemployment had increased to 5.7 per cent nationally, with Queensland posting the biggest state-wide increase among the jobless.

Our unemployment rate is 5.3 per cent - meaning 124,500 Queenslanders are now looking for work.

With those numbers widely expected to rise over the next 12 months - perhaps to as high as 7 per cent - bosses have a wider choice of candidates who seldom are in a position to bargain for better salaries in the current climate.

Office staff and mine workers have been particularly hard hit in the first six months of the year, The Sunday Mail found.

Rob Davidson of Davidson Recruitment said he had noted a 15 to 30 per cent drop in salary levels across most sectors.

Mr Davidson said aggressive employers were also using the market conditions to secure top-level talent.

"A number of companies are using this period as a good opportunity to trade a Homer Simpson for a Tiger Woods - for 20 per cent less money," he said.

MAXEmployment's Michael Hobday said his group had recorded a big increase in job-hunters, with his client book increasing from 35,000 to 40,000 in the past few months.

"We have noticed a significant number of new unemployed people coming through our offices and the people who are coming through are not long-term unemployed," he said, adding the turnaround in the market had been like flicking a switch.

"It's certainly tough times out there, there's no doubt about that," he said.

"A lot of people are desperate to find work to feed their family and pay their mortgages."

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