Here's what the average Australian earns in a week

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  • Average pre-tax weekly earnings for Australian workers grew by 2.4% in the year to November
  • Full-time workers in the ACT earn the most on average
  • Average earnings for females are growing faster than for males

If you ever wondered what the average Australian earns in a week, we have the answer.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), average weekly earnings (AWE) grew by 2.4% to $1,191.50 in the 12 months to November 2017, accelerating from the 1.6% increase seen in the year to August.

It was the second fastest increase since late 2013, only surpassed by a 2.1% increase in the 12 months to May 2016.

Average earnings for full-time workers grew by 2.3% to $1,632.10 over the year, up from 2.1% in the previous report.

Source: ABS

As opposed to Australia’s Wage Price Index (WPI) which measures hourly wage inflation, the AWE report measures the total taxable gross weekly earnings of all Australian workers divided by the total number of workers.

Essentially, what is earned earned divided by how many workers there are.

That means the AWE not only accounts for hourly wage rates like the WPI, but also the composition of Australia’s labour force.

“Factors which can contribute to compositional change include variations in the proportion of full-time, part-time, casual and junior employees, variations in the occupational distribution within and across industries and variations in the distribution of employment between industries,” the ABS says.

So things like hours worked, pay levels in individual industries and the split between male and female workers in various sectors.

It’s therefore a crude measurement of what the average Australian earns, rather than what individuals experience themselves.

Helping to underline that point, while earnings for all workers grew by 2.4% over the year, it was once again public sector workers who received larger increase over this period.

The ABS said that average earnings grew by 3.0% to $1,432.60, stronger than the 2.3% lift in average private sector earnings which rose to $1,136.30.

Source: ABS

The variance in the size of earnings between the two groups likely reflects that more part-time and casual workers are employed in the private sector.

For full-time workers, average earnings for private sector staff grew by 2.2% to $1,594.80, below the 2.8% increase in the public sector which grew to $1,773.20.

By gender, females saw their average earnings rise by 2.9% to $959.50. Male average earnings grew 2% over the same period to $1,427.80.

This reflects that more females than males tend to work full-time or casual, along with other considerations.

Source: ABS

“AWE statistics cannot answer whether males and females receive ‘equal pay for equal work,” the ABS says.

“Also, as it does not collect the relevant information, AWE is not suitable for determining the causes of differences in average earnings between males and females.”

For full-time workers, earnings for males grew by 2% to $1,753.50, outpaced by a 2.9% increase for females which rose to $1,429.80.

Again, the AWE report is influenced by the split between males and females working in specific industries.

Despite receiving the smallest hourly wage increase in the WPI, average full-time mining sector earnings stood at $2,580.70 in the latest report, the largest of any industry surveyed.

At the other end of the spectrum, those working full-time in the accommodation and food services industry received the smallest at $1,112.90.

Source: ABS

By state and territory, full-time worker earnings in the ACT rose to $1,803.10, the highest in Australia.

We bet most of you already guessed than before you even read it.

They were followed by Western Australia at $1,742.80, the Northern Territory at $1,647.90, New South Wales at $1,585.90, Queensland at $1,527.80, Victoria at $1,524.30 and South Australia at $1,441.50.

Tasmania, at $1,356.20, had the lowest average weekly earnings for full-time workers across the country.

Source: ABS

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