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Earnings for Australians
In August 2019, median weekly earnings for employees was $1,100, increasing from $1,075 in 2018. Median weekly earnings increased at a slower rate for male employees than female employees over the past 5 years, in part because the proportion of male employees working part-time increased.
The lowest and highest earnings quantiles grew slightly faster than the median. Earnings for the 10th and 25th percentile increased by 2.8% per annum (p.a.) and 2.9% p.a. respectively, and the 90th percentile by 2.4% p.a., compared to 1.9% p.a. growth in the median over the last 5 years.
Graph 1: Median Weekly Earnings by Sex and Full-time or Part-Time
Source: Tables 1 and 2.
Information about all of the ABS sources of earnings and income data can be found in the information paper ABS Labour Statistics: A broad range of information.
Earnings for States and Territories
The state or territory with the highest median weekly earnings was the Australian Capital Territory at $1,300 per week, followed by Western Australia and the Northern Territory whose median earnings were both $1,200 per week. The lowest were Tasmania ($1,000 per week) and South Australia ($1,010 per week).
The industries with the lowest median weekly earnings were:
Graph 4: Median Weekly Earnings for Employees by Industry
Source: Table 3.
Earnings by Highest Educational Qualification
In August 2019, the highest median weekly earnings were for employees with a postgraduate degree ($1,600 per week), while the lowest were those without non-school qualifications ($820 per week). The largest increases in median weekly earnings, compared to August 2014, were for employees with a postgraduate degree (up $210 per week), a Certificate III/IV (up $150 per week) and a Graduate diploma/Graduate certificate (up $123 per week).
Graph 5: Median Weekly Earnings by Highest Educational Qualification
Source: Table 5.
Between August 2015* and August 2019 there was an increase in the proportion of employed people who had an agreement to work flexible hours or regularly worked from home.
Over the same period there was a decrease in the proportion of employed people who were usually required to work extra hours or overtime, or usually required to be on call or standby.
The proportion of employed people who usually worked shift work, or who have Monday to Friday as set working days has remained steady across the period.
Graph 6: Percentage of Employed People by Working Arrangement
Source: Table 7.
*Working arrangements is collected every second year for Characteristics of Employment. Data was collected in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Additional questions in the Characteristics of Employment survey allow employment relationships to be reclassified using the Form of Employment in main job classification (see Forms of Employment (Appendix)).This enables people’s employment relationships to be classified as either:
In 2019, the industries which had the highest percentage of independent contractors were Construction (27%), Administration and support services (17%) and Professional, scientific and technical services (14%).
The largest proportional increases for independent contractors from 2014 to 2019 were seen in Transport, postal and warehousing (10.7% to 13.2%), and Information media and telecommunications (5.7% to 9.3%).
The industries with the highest proportion of other business operators were Agriculture, forestry and fishing (48%) and Rental, hiring and real estate services (19%).
The industries with the highest proportion of non-employees (both independent contractors and other business operators) were Agriculture, forestry and fishing (56%) and Construction (39%).
Graph 7: Number of Employed People by Forms of Employment, by Industry
Source: Table 10.
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