Fresh from learning that Australian wage growth slowed to the lowest level since the early 1990s recession, we’ve just learnt that Australian average weekly earnings grew at an even slower pace in the year to November.
According to the ABS, the average weekly earnings for all workers were $1,145.60, representing an increase of 1.5% from 12 months earlier. Earnings of full-time workers grew at a slightly faster pace, increasing by 1.7% to $1,499.30 over the same time period.
In real terms, adjusted for inflation, average earnings fell compared to a year earlier.
The ABS derives the figure by simply dividing the total taxable gross weekly earnings of workers against the number of Australians employed. It uses total earnings paid to employees for a specific pay period, unlike the wage price index, which is not impacted by the number of hours worked.
While subdued, the news for men, at least compared to women, was near depressing.
On average, weekly earnings for men rose to $1,374.10, a paltry increase of 0.3% on a year earlier. Those for full-time workers fared a little better, rising 1.1% to $1,602.80.
While average earnings for men went nowhere, those for women were far stronger in comparison, albeit still well behind male earnings.
Average earnings for females jumped by 2.9% to $915.30. Earnings growth for women working full-time was slightly softer, rising 2.7% to $1,325.10.
The ABS stress that while the survey can be used to compare average earnings between males and females, it does not take into account a range of factors such as occupation or hours worked, which contribute significantly to the differences between male and female earnings.
As the survey uses an average, not a median, it may not be the best indicator to show how much the average Australian worker earns. However, it can be used for benchmarking purposes, particularly by industry and state.
Here’s a chart from the ABS that shows average weekly earnings by industry.
And here’s the same information, but only by state and territory.