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Level of earnings
Data on the level of earnings reflect the variations within different population groups, and across industries and occupations. Changes in the level of earnings are also of interest in reflecting the strength of labour demand and supply.
The AWE survey provides an estimate of the gross weekly earnings paid to employees by measuring earnings during a one-week reference period in the middle month of a quarter (excluding irregular payments not related to the reference period). Data are collected from the payroll records of a sample of employers.
The AWE survey provides three types of earnings measures. The first is average weekly ordinary time earnings (commonly referred to as AWOTE) for full-time adult employees, which relates to that part of total earnings attributable to award, standard or agreed hours of work. A second measure is full-time adult total earnings, which includes both ordinary time and overtime pay. A third measure is total earnings for all employees (including full-time and part-time, adult and junior).
Graph 8.49 shows AWOTE from May 1997 to May 2007. Over the ten-year period, AWOTE for full-time adult male employees increased from $741 to $1,158 (or 56%), while for full-time adult female employees it increased from $620 to $968 (also 56%).
Table 8.51 presents AWOTE for full-time adult men and women by states and territories in May 2007. The highest weekly earnings for both men and women were in the Australian Capital Territory ($1,376 for men and $1,159 for women), while the lowest weekly earnings were in Tasmania for men ($1,046) and in Queensland for women ($919).
In May 2007, the Mining industry recorded the highest AWOTE for full-time adults ($1,811 for men and $1,399 for women) (graph 8.52). The industries with the lowest AWOTE for full-time adults were Retail trade ($874 for men and $757 for women) and Accommodation, cafes and restaurants ($890 and $781 respectively) .
AWOTE for full-time adult women was less than for men in all industries. The largest difference between the earnings of full-time adult males and females occurred in the Finance and insurance industry, with female earnings approximately two-thirds of male earnings (66%). The difference in earnings was smallest in Government administration and defence (the average earnings of full-time adult females were 91% of full-time adult males).
Data on earnings are also available from the EEH survey. This survey provides additional information on employee characteristics such as occupation. Average weekly ordinary time cash earnings (i.e. including amounts salary sacrificed) for full-time adult employees by occupation for May 2006 are shown in graph 8.53. For men, Elementary clerical, sales and service workers recorded the lowest average weekly ordinary time cash earnings of all the occupation groups ($758), whereas for women, Labourers and related workers recorded the lowest average cash earnings ($658). The occupation group with the highest earnings was Managers and administrators ($1,722 for men and $1,423 for women).
Men had higher average earnings than women in each major occupation group. For full-time adult employees, the proportional difference between male and female average weekly ordinary time cash earnings was smallest for Elementary clerical, sales and service workers (average earnings of women were 89% of those of men) and greatest for Associate professionals and Tradespersons and related workers (both 79%).
The Survey of Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, provides data on average weekly earnings across a range of socio-demographic characteristics.
In August 2006, average weekly earnings of full-time workers was more than double that of part-time workers across all age groups; full-time workers earned, on average, $1,051 per week in all jobs, compared with $388 for part-time workers. Workers with the lowest average weekly earnings were those aged 15-19 years ($473 for full-time workers and $147 for part-time workers) while those with the highest average weekly earnings were aged 35-44 years for full-time workers ($1,184) and 45-54 for part-time workers ($492) (graph 8.54).