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6310.0 - Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, August 2013 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2014  Final
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

In August 2013, the Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership (EEBTUM) survey found there were 10.3 million employees (Table 5). Of these, 69% were full-time employees in their main job.

The key findings were:

  • median weekly earnings for employees in their main job was $950 and mean weekly earnings for employees in their main job was $1,141 (Table 6), whereas median weekly earnings for employees in all jobs was $960 and mean weekly earnings in all jobs was $1,156 (Table 2);
  • 17% of employees were trade union members in their main job (Table 11);
  • 757,100 (7%) of employees were owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs) (Table 6); and
  • 2.3 million (24%) of employees (excluding OMIEs) did not have paid leave entitlements (an indicator of casual employment) in 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) (Table 21).


WEEKLY EARNINGS IN MAIN JOB

Earnings distribution

At August 2013, the mean weekly earnings of employees (excluding OMIEs who do not draw a wage or salary) was higher than median weekly earnings. This difference demonstrates the asymmetric distribution of earnings, where a relatively small number of employees have comparatively very high earnings. This is illustrated in the graph below.

Graph: Distribution of Employee Earnings, August 2013

While median and mean earnings provide useful information about earnings distributions, they do not capture all the information about the distribution. It is also useful to consider percentiles, which measure the spread of earnings across the population. For example, the 10th percentile, P10, separates the population into the bottom 10% (lowest earners) and top 90%, while P90 separates the population into the bottom 90% and the top 10% (highest earners). At August 2013, P10 for weekly earnings in main job was $295, while P90 for weekly earnings in main job was $2,081 (Table 8).

Another way of analysing the earnings distribution is to measure the share of earnings received by groups of people at different parts of the distribution. The 10 percent of the population with the lowest weekly earnings in their main job accounted for 1.4% of the total earnings of all employees, whereas the 10 percent with the highest earnings accounted for 28% of the earnings of all employees. Those earning above the median wage accounted for over three quarters (76%) of earnings received.


Comparison over time

The median weekly earnings for employees in main job (excluding OMIEs who did not draw a wage or salary) was $950 in August 2013 (Table 7), the same as for August 2012. Mean weekly earnings in main job rose by $26, from $1,115 (August 2012) to $1,141 (August 2013).

Real (earnings adjusted by CPI) median weekly earnings in main job fell by 2.1% in the year to August 2013, the largest fall in a decade. Real mean weekly earnings were essentially unchanged (a fall of 0.2%). However, in the previous year (from August 2011 to August 2012), real median and real mean weekly earnings in main job each rose by 3.5%. Over the decade to August 2013, real median weekly earnings rose by 14% while real mean weekly earnings rose by 20%. Real earnings usually increase at a slower rate than nominal dollar earnings, as seen in the graph below.

Nominal and real (a) weekly earnings in main job (b)
Graph: Nominal and real (a) weekly earnings in main job (b)



Effects of workforce composition

Weekly earnings are affected not only by changes in the rate of pay, but also by any changes in the composition of the Australian workforce, including:
  • diversity of employment arrangements;
  • number of hours worked;
  • the extent of part-time and casual employment;
  • mix of industries and occupations.

Median weekly earnings for full-time employees was $1,152 compared to $450 for part-time employees (Table 6). Younger people were more likely to work part-time in their main job (Table 12). Three quarters (75%) of 15-19 year old employees worked part-time, while 40% of 20-24 year old employees worked part-time. The proportion of employees working full-time (75%) was highest during the prime working years of life (25-59 years). Older people were also more likely to work part-time, with 40% of employees aged 60 and over working part-time.

Median weekly earnings in main job for male employees was $1,112 in August 2013, whilst median weekly earnings in main job for female employees was $790 (Table 7). Differences in male/female earnings are influenced by factors such as full-time/part-time status and hours worked.

At August 2013, 16% of male employees worked part-time in their main job, whereas 47% of female employees worked part-time in their main job (Table 6). For full-time employees, males were paid for more hours on average than females (43 and 39 hours respectively), whilst for part-time employees females were paid for more hours on average than males (19 hours and 18 hours respectively). Overall, male employees were paid for 39 hours per week of work on average, whereas female employees were paid for 30 hours per week.

The Mining industry had the highest median weekly earnings of $2,071, followed by Electricity, gas, water and waste services ($1,500) (Table 9). The industries with the lowest median weekly earnings were Accommodation and food services ($450) and Retail trade ($600). The Accommodation and food services industry had the highest proportion of employees who were part-time in their main job (63%) and Retail trade had the second highest proportion (52%) (Table 13). Also, the Accommodation and food services industry had the highest proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements (65%) whilst Retail trade had the fourth largest proportion (39%) (Table 22).

Most employees in the Mining and Electricity, gas, water and waste services industries were males (85% and 80% respectively). Most employees in Accommodation and food services and Retail trade were females (57% and 58% respectively) (Table 5). The Accommodation and food services and Retail trade industries also had the highest proportions of 15-19 year old workers (24% and 18% respectively). Under 2% of employees in Mining and Electricity, gas, water and waste services were 15-19 years old.

The industries with the greatest difference between median and mean earnings (an indicator of how uneven the distribution of earnings is) were Professional, scientific and technical services ($313), followed by Financial and insurance services ($296) (Table 9).

The major occupation groups with the highest median weekly earnings were Managers ($1,350), followed by Professionals ($1,282) (Table 8). The occupation groups with the lowest median weekly earnings were Sales workers ($500) and Community and personal service workers ($650). The prevalence of part-time work was also highest for Sales workers (59%) and Community and personal service workers (56%) (Table 13). The major occupation groups with the highest proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements were Labourers (48%), followed by Sales workers (46%) and Community and personal service workers (39%) (Table 22).

Most Managers were males (65%), while just under half of Professionals were males (47%). Most Sales workers and Community and personal service workers were females (63% and 70% respectively), while most Labourers were males (64%). Also, Sales workers, Labourers, and Community and personal service workers had the highest proportions of 15-19 year old workers (23%, 13% and 9% respectively). Under 1% of Managers and 1% of Professionals were 15-19 years old.

The major occupation groups with the greatest difference between median and mean earnings were Managers ($336), followed by Machinery operators and drivers ($244) (Table 8).


EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Paid leave entitlements

In August 2013, 24% of employees (excluding OMIEs) did not have paid leave entitlements (2.3 million) (Table 21). This proportion has remained at around 24% every August for the last nine years.

The industries with the highest proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements were Accommodation and food services (65%), Agriculture, forestry and fishing (40%), Administrative and support services (40%) and Retail trade (39%) (Table 22).

The occupation groups with the highest proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements were Labourers (48%) and Sales workers (46%) (Table 22).

Younger employees were the least likely to have paid leave, with 71% of 15-19 year olds not having paid leave entitlements (Table 21). Younger employees were also more likely to be working in Accommodation and food services (24% of employees were 15-19 years old) and Retail trade (18% of employees were 15-19 years old). This compares with 6% of all employees being 15-19 years old. The next age groups least likely to have paid leave entitlements were 20-24 year olds (38% did not have the entitlements) and employees aged 65 years and over (36% did not have the entitlements).

Overall, 21% of male employees did not have paid leave entitlements, while 27% of female employees did not have paid leave entitlements (Table 19). Nine out of 10 full-time employees had paid leave entitlements (90%), compared to under half (46%) of part-time employees. When looking at full-time/part-time status by sex, female full-time employees were more likely to have paid leave entitlements than male full-time employees (92% compared to 89% for males), as were female part-time employees (53% compared to 30% for males).


Other indicators of casual employment
Proportion of Casual Employees Under Different Measures

Along with not being entitled to paid leave, EEBTUM collected complementary measures relating to casual employment; whether employees believed their job to be casual, and whether casual loading is received as part of an employees pay. In August 2013, 23% of employees (excluding OMIEs) considered their job to be casual, while 14% of employees received a casual loading (a further 8% did not know whether they received the loading). Further information on these indicators of casual employment is available in Australian Labour Market Statistics, Oct 2008 (cat. no. 6105.0).


Other forms of paid leave

Of all employees (excluding OMIEs), 46% were entitled to paid maternity/paternity leave in August 2013 (Table 20). A further 26% did not know if they had this entitlement, with a higher proportion of males not knowing (32%) than females (19%). Fewer male employees stated that they had paternity leave (41%), compared to females (51% entitled to maternity leave).

Around two thirds (67%) of all employees had access to paid long service leave (Table 20), while a further 10% did not know whether they had this entitlement.


Ability to choose when holidays are taken

In August 2013, 73% of employees (excluding OMIEs) could choose when to take holidays. A further 16% could sometimes choose, while 12% stated they could not choose.

Full-time employees in their main job had more choice about when to take holidays than part-time employees, with 9% of full-time employees having no choice, compared to 18% for part-time employees. Employees without leave entitlements also had less choice as to when to take leave, with 22% having no choice when to take holidays.

The industries with the highest proportion of employees who had no choice of when to take holidays were Education and training (50%) and Accommodation and food services (16%). The major occupation groups with the highest proportion of employees who had no choice were Professionals, and Personal and community service workers (both 17%) followed by Labourers (16%).


TRADE UNION MEMBERSHIP

Recent years

In August 2013, 17% of all employees (1.7 million) were trade union members in relation to their main job (Table 11). A further 4% did not know if they were trade union members or not, while 1% were trade union members not in conjunction with their main job. Of those who were a trade union member in relation to their main job, over two thirds (68%) had been members for five years or more (Table 12).

Trade union membership has steadily declined over recent years, with 2013 being the lowest proportion in the history of the series.

Proportion of employees with trade union membership in main job
Graph: Proportion of employees with trade union membership in main job



Characteristics of trade union members

Of all employees (excluding OMIEs) without leave entitlements, 6% were trade union members in their main job, compared with 22% for employees with leave entitlements (Table 11).

Trade union membership was higher in the public sector (42% of all employees were trade union members in their main job), compared to the private sector (12% of employees) (Table 11). Employees in the Education and training industry had the highest proportion of trade union membership in their main job (37%), followed by Public administration and safety (34%) (Table 13). The occupation groups with the highest rates of trade union membership in relation to their main job were Machinery operators and drivers (26%) followed by Professionals (24%) and Community and personal service workers (22%).


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Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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