6333.0 - Characteristics of Employment, Australia, August 2019 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/12/2019   
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Key Findings

In August 2019:

  • Median employee earnings was $1,100 per week, up by 2.3% since August 2018;
  • More employed people had access to flexible hours and regularly worked from home, while fewer usually worked overtime or were on call;
  • Independent contractors were most likely to work in Construction or Professional, scientific and technical services.


Earnings for Australians


Median
Weekly Earnings
August 2019August 2018August 2014
2018 to 2019
(% change)
2014 to 2019
(% change p.a.)

Employees$1 100$1 075$1 000
2.3%
1.9%
Male Employees$1 275$1 259$1 175
1.3%
1.6%
Female Employees$950$911$825
4.3%
2.9%



Median
Hourly Earnings
August 2019August 2018August 2014
2018 to 2019
(% change)
2014 to 2019
(% change p.a.)

Employees$32.50$31.30$28.60
3.8%
2.6%
Male Employees$34.20$32.90$30.10
4.0%
2.6%
Female Employees$31.10$30.00$26.70
3.7%
3.1%



Weekly EarningsAugust 2019August 2018August 2014
2018 to 2019
(% change)
2014 to 2019
(% change p.a.)

10th Percentile$345$340$300
1.5%
2.8%
25th Percentile$700$684$608
2.3%
2.9%
50th Percentile$1 100$1 075$1 000
2.3%
1.9%
75th Percentile$1 651$1 602$1 500
3.1%
1.9%
90th Percentile$2 416$2 348$2 150
2.9%
2.4%

Source: Tables 1 and 2.


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
Graph 1: Median Weekly Earnings by Sex and Full-time or Part-Time. This graph shows the level of median weekly earnings for people split by sex and full-time or part-time. It shows increases for all groups this year.
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).


Graph 2: Median Weekly Earnings for Employees by State and Territory
Graph 2: Median Weekly Earnings for Employees by State and Territory. The graph shows increases for all states and territories since 2014 except the Northern Territory, which fell. The largest increases were seen in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.
Source: Table 1.

Of the state capital cities, Perth and Sydney had the highest median weekly earnings at $1,200 per week.

Outside the capital cities, the highest median weekly earnings was regional Western Australia at $1,225 per week, and the lowest was regional Victoria at $950 per week.



Earnings by Occupation of Main Job

In August 2019, the occupations with highest median weekly earnings were Managers ($1,726 per week) and Professionals ($1,500 per week), while the lowest were Labourers ($749 per week) and Sales workers ($600 per week).

These occupations also had the highest and lowest median hourly rate. Managers ($46.90) and Professionals ($46.00) recorded the highest hourly rate, while Sales workers and Labourers earned $25.00 per hour. The gap between the median hourly rates for occupations is smaller than for the weekly measure, partly due to the difference in hours typically worked for each occupation.


Graph 3: Median Hourly Earnings for Employees by Occupation
Graph 3: Hourly earnings by occupation. The largest increases were for managers and professionals while the smallest increase was for technicians and trades workers.
Source: Table 4.


Earnings by Industry of Main Job


In August 2019, the industries with the highest median weekly earnings were:

  • Mining ($2,300 per week)
  • Electricity, gas, water and waste services ($1,597 per week)
  • Financial and insurance services ($1,500 per week) and
  • Public administration and support services ($1,495 per week).

The industries with the lowest median weekly earnings were:
  • Accommodation and food services ($500 per week)
  • Retail trade ($700 per week) and
  • Arts and recreation services ($898 per week).


Graph 4: Median Weekly Earnings for Employees by Industry
Graph 4: Median Weekly Earnings for Employees by Industry of their Main Job, in 2014 and 2019. All Industries increased with the largest increases in Financial and insurance services, Public administration and safety, and Arts and recreation services.

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
Median Weekly Earnings by Highest Educational Qualification, in 2014 and 2019. The largest increases in median earnings were for those with postgraduate as well as certificate level qualifications. The smallest increase was for those without non-school qu
Source: Table 5.


Working Arrangements

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
Graph 6: The proportion of employees who work extra hours or overtime or are required to be on call or standby has declined since 2015. The proportion who have an agreement to work flexible hours or regularly work from home has increased since 2015.
Source: Table 7.

*Working arrangements is collected every second year for Characteristics of Employment. Data was collected in 2015, 2017 and 2019.




Independent contractors

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:
  • Employees;
  • Independent contractors; or
  • Other business operators.

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
Graph 7: This graph shows the proportions of forms of employment, by industry. Construction has the highest proportion of independent contractors while agriculture has the highest proportion of other business operators

Source: Table 10.