This could help you to get a bigger pay increase in Australia -- with or without changing jobs

Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
  • Australian wage growth rose by 2.08% in the year to December, barely ahead of inflation at 1.9%.
  • Average advertised salaries on Adzuna’s jobs platform have increased by triple that amount over the past 12 months.
  • Stronger growth was seen in postings for scientific, IT and construction roles.

Wage growth in Australia remains near the lowest levels on record.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), average hourly wage rates grew by just 0.55% in the December quarter last year, leaving the change on a year earlier at a paltry 2.08%.

The news was even more downbeat for private sector workers, the country’s largest employment group, with wages lifting by 0.48% over the quarter, leaving the change on 12 months earlier at just 1.93%.

In contrast, public sector wages grew by a comparatively rampant 2.44% over the same period.

With consumer price inflation running at 1.9%, it meant that for many Australian workers, their pay went nowhere in real terms.

At a time of record-breaking job growth, it raises the question about what you need to do in order to get a decent pay increase, especially with unemployment still well above levels where wage growth has accelerated in the past.

While some suggest obtaining new skills, or, heaven forbid, asking your employer for a bigger increase, perhaps there’s another option for those looking to get ahead.

Change jobs.

As seen in the table below from jobs specialist Adzuna, based on what its seeing on its database, average advertised salary levels are increasing in every Australian state and territory aside from Western Australia right now.

Source: Adzuna

Over the past year, the average advertised salary level has increased by 6.25% to $92,127, more than triple the increase seen in Australia’s wage price index in 2017.

While these figures have not been seasonally adjusted, and represent changes in demand not only by location but also specific sectors — two factors that warrant caution when evaluating trends for all workers — Adzuna CEO Raife Watson, says there’s now little doubt that average salary levels are growing strongly.

“A clear trend has emerged over the past year, with average advertised salaries steadily moving upward,” he says.

“The consistent message out there is that wages are flat and, as a result, I think Australians are feeling deflated and are not working harder in those pay negotiations.

“You must stay up-to-date with what is currently being offered in the market for your current role. Take a look at the current advertised salaries and use them as a benchmark in your pay negotiations.”

So even if you’re not looking to change roles, there’s still an opportunity for workers to use this data to push for a larger increase.

This is especially so for those working in a scientific or quality assurance job. Along with IT and construction workers, they are currently enjoying the strongest growth in average advertised salary levels.

Source: Adzuna

However, while salaries in those sectors are growing strongly, the same can’t be said for HR and legal professionals where average advertised salaries have fallen by over 6% during the past 12 months.

Source: Adzuna

For those workers, it may best to avoid citing recent salary trends in your next pay negotiation.

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