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6310.0 - Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, Aug 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/04/2009   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

In August 2008, there were 9.3 million people (4.9 million men and 4.3 million women) who were employees in their main job. Of these, 71% were full-time employees in their main job (86% of male employees and 54% of female employees). Other characteristics of employees included:

  • 72% were full-time workers when taking account of all jobs
  • mean weekly earnings for employees in their main job was $948
  • 19% were trade union members in relation to their main job
  • 91% were provided with superannuation by their current employer
  • excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs), there were 8.6 million employees, and 76% of these had paid leave entitlements
  • 691,700 (7%) of employees were OMIEs.


WEEKLY EARNINGS IN ALL JOBS1,2,3,4

The mean weekly earnings of employees in all jobs in August 2008, was $958, an increase of $32 since August 2007. Mean weekly earnings in all jobs for men was $1,135, and for women was $755. Mean weekly earnings for full-time workers was $1,163, while for part-time workers it was $428. Looking at Australian states and territories, the highest mean weekly earnings in all jobs was in the Australian Capital Territory ($1,147), followed by the Northern Territory5 ($1,100).

Mean weekly earnings in all jobs has increased by almost 61% over the 10 years to August 2008, from $596 in August 1998 to $958 in August 2008. Changes in mean weekly earnings may be affected not only by changes in the rate of pay but also by changes in the composition of the Australian workforce, including:
  • an increasing diversity of employment arrangements
  • number of hours worked
  • increase in the extent of part-time and casual employment
  • changes in the mix of industry and occupation.


WEEKLY EARNINGS IN MAIN JOB3,4

In August 2008, 37% of employees earned $1,000 or more per week in their main job (49% of full-time employees and 5% of part-time employees). There were 23% of employees earning less than $500 (65% of part-time employees and 5% of full-time employees).

Employees in main job, Weekly earnings in main job, By full-time or part-time status in main job
Graph: Employees in main job, weekly earnings in main job by full-time or part-time status in main job


The proportion of employees earning $600 and under $700 was similar for full-time and part-time employees (9% and 8% respectively). However, the earnings ranges on either side varied. An estimated 5% of full-time employees and 10% of part-time employees earned between $500 and $600. Conversely, 10% of full-time employees and 5% of part-time employees earned between $700 and under $800.


Mean weekly earnings in main job

The mean weekly earnings for employees in their main job in August 2008 was $948 ($1,128 for men and $743 for women). Men aged 35-44 years had the highest mean weekly earnings at $1,388, while for women it was those aged 25-34 years at $851.

EMPLOYEES IN MAIN JOB, Mean weekly earnings in main job (a), By age-By sex
Graph: Employees in main job, mean weekly earnings in main job by age by sex


The mean weekly earnings in main job was higher for men than for women in every age group. The greatest difference in mean weekly earnings between male and female employees was for those aged 35-44 years (a difference of $568 per week), while the smallest difference, $97, was for those aged 15-19 years.

Another useful comparison of the mean weekly earnings of men and women, is to use full-time employees only, and in this instance how they compare across industry groups.

MEAN WEEKLY EARNINGS IN MAIN JOB, Full-time employees-By industry of main job-By sex
Graph: Mean weekly earnings in main job, full-time employees by industry of main job by sex


Mean weekly earnings for full-time employees in their main job were greater for men than for women across all industry groups. The largest difference ($698) between the mean earnings for men and women was in the Mining industry. This industry group also showed the highest mean earnings for both men ($2,032) and women ($1,334). Other differences evident between men and women were in the Financial and insurance services industry ($504 difference) and the Health care and social assistance industry ($476 difference). The smallest difference in mean weekly earnings for full-time employees was in the Arts and recreation services industry ($1,037 for males and $932 for females). The industries that showed the lowest mean earnings for full-time employees for both men and women in August 2008 were Accommodation and food services ($868 for males and $741 for females) and Agriculture forestry and fishing ($892 and $690 respectively).


Median weekly earnings in main job

Another useful measure of earnings is median weekly earnings. The median is the amount which divides the distribution of employees into two equal parts, one having earnings above and the other below that amount.

In August 2008, the median weekly earnings in main job for all employees was $800. For men, the median weekly earnings in their main job was $961, compared to $667 for women. For full-time employees, the median weekly earnings was $1,000 ($1,022 for men and $900 for women) and for part-time employees the median weekly earnings was $360 ($294 for men and $390 for women).

Median weekly earnings were the highest for employees who were Managers ($1,200) and Professionals ($1,150) and for employees who were in the Mining industry ($1,700). Median weekly earnings were lowest for employees who were in the Accommodation and food services industry ($400) and employees who were Sales workers ($470).


TRADE UNION MEMBERSHIP

In August 2008, there were 1.8 million employees who were trade union members in conjunction with their main job. This was a 3% increase on the 1.7 million trade union members in August 2007, however in both years, trade union members represented 19% of people who were employees in their main job.

Data collected about trade union members in August 2008 also showed:
  • 21% of full-time employees and 15% of part-time employees were trade union members
  • 42% of public sector employees were trade union members, compared to 14% of private sector employees
  • the state with the highest proportion of trade union members was Tasmania (25% of Tasmanian employees), while the lowest was Western Australia (14% of Western Australian employees).

The occupation groups with the highest proportion of employees who were trade union members in their main job were Machinery operators and drivers (28%), followed by Professionals (25%) and Community and personal service workers (23%). The occupation group with the lowest proportion of trade union members was Managers (9%).

Employees in main job, Industry of main job, By trade union membership-Proportion of all employees who were trade union members
Graph: Employees in main job, industy of main job by proportion of all employees who were trade union members


Employees in the Education and training industry group had the highest proportion of trade union membership (40%), followed by Public administration and safety (34%). The industry group with the lowest proportion of trade union membership was the Professional, scientific and technical services industry (4%).


SUPERANNUATION COVERAGE6

In August 2008, 91% of all employees had superannuation provided by their current employer. A higher proportion of employees who worked full-time in their main job were provided with superannuation by their current employer (95%) than part-time employees in main job (79%). While for sector of main job, 98% of employees in the public sector had superannuation provided by their current employer compared to 89% of employees in the private sector.

Almost all (96%) of employees earning $400 and over each week in their main job were provided with superannuation by their current employer. For employees earning under $400, 69% were provided with superannuation.


PAID LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS

Employees (excluding OMIEs) with paid leave entitlements7

Of the 8.6 million employees8 at August 2008, 76% (6.5 million) had paid leave entitlements, ie. were entitled to paid sick leave or paid holiday leave or both in their main job. A higher proportion of male employees8 had paid leave entitlements (80%) than female employees8 (72%).

Just over two-fifths (42%) of the 2.5 million part-time employees had paid leave entitlements in their main job compared to 90% of the 6 million full-time employees8.

Over 80% of employees8 aged 25-59 years had paid leave entitlements. Employees8 aged 15-19 years had the lowest proportion with paid leave entitlements (34%) compared to other age groups, followed by those aged 65 years and over (53%).

Employees in main job with paid leave entitlements, By occupation group-By sex
Graph: Employees in main job, with paid leave entitlements by occupation group by sex


The occupation group with the highest proportion of employees8 with paid leave entitlements was Managers (93%), followed by Professionals (89%), Technicians and trades workers (83%) and Clerical and administrative workers (83%). For Technicians and trades workers, 85% of men had paid leave entitlements, compared to 73% of women. The occupation group that showed the largest difference in the proportion of men and women with paid leave entitlements was Sales workers (65% and 43% respectively).


Employees (excluding OMIEs) without paid leave entitlements

In August 2008, 24% (2.1 million) of employees8 did not have paid leave entitlements (a proxy measure for casual employment) in conjunction with their main job, that is they were not entitled to either paid sick leave or paid holiday leave in their main job (or did not know if they were entitled). Of these:
  • 56% were women
  • 22% were aged 15-19 years, and more than half (57%) were aged under 35 years
  • almost three-quarters (71%) were part-time employees
  • 22% were Sales workers and 22% were labourers
  • 21% were in the Retail trade industry and 19% were in the Accommodation and food services industry.


Number of paid leave entitlements9

In August 2008, paid sick leave and paid holiday leave were the most common leave entitlements held by employees8 (75% each). While paid holiday and paid sick leave contribute to the measure of employees8 with paid leave entitlements, other types of paid leave that employees8 may be entitled to are paid long service leave and paid maternity/paternity leave. There were 66% of employees8 who were entitled to paid long service leave, 23% who were not entitled to paid long service leave and 11% who did not know if they were entitled to long service leave. Two fifths (40%) of employees8 were entitled to paid maternity/paternity leave, 36% were not entitled to paid maternity/paternity leave and 24% did not know if they were entitled to paid maternity/paternity leave.

An estimated 78% of employees8 had one or more leave entitlements, and 22% had no leave entitlements.

Comparisons for some key population groups in relation to whether they had all leave entitlements show:
  • 41% of the 4.1 million women who were employees8 had all leave entitlements (compared to 32% of male employees8)
  • of the 6 million full-time employees8, 43% had all leave entitlements, compared to 20% of part-time employees8
  • 65% of the 1.7 million employees8 in the public sector had all leave entitlements, compared to 29% of employees8 in the private sector.

Overall, industries with the highest proportions of employees8 with all leave entitlements were Public administration and safety (68% of employees8 in that industry) and Financial and insurance services (60% of employees8 in that industry). In contrast, in the Accommodation and food services industry, 9% of employees8 in that industry had all leave entitlements, and 62% had no leave entitlements.

Over half (53%) of the employees8 who were Professionals in August 2008 had all leave entitlements. In contrast, 17% of Labourers and 18% of Sales workers had all leave entitlements, while over two-fifths (44% and 46% respectively) of employees8 in each of these groups had no leave entitlements.


END NOTES

1. For multiple jobholders, earnings in second job were only obtained from people who were employees in that job.

2. Earnings in all jobs refers to earnings in first and second job.

3. For more information see paragraphs 20-21 of the Explanatory Notes.

4. From August 2007, employees were asked to include salary sacrifice when estimating their earnings. For more information see paragraphs 28-29 of the Explanatory Notes.

5. Refers to mainly urban areas only. For more information see paragraph 8 of the Explanatory Notes.

6. For more information on Superannuation coverage in this survey, refer to the Glossary.

7. For more information see paragraph 22 of the Explanatory Notes.

8. Employees excluding OMIEs.

9. Paid leave entitlements refers to the entitlement of employees (excluding OMIEs) to either paid holiday leave, paid sick leave, paid long service leave and/or paid maternity/paternity leave in their main job.


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