Managers and professionals have highest hourly earnings


In May 2018, Managers and Professionals had the highest average hourly earnings (at $60.40 and $54.00 per hour), according to results from the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The lowest hourly earners, on average, were Sales workers ($28.50) and Labourers ($29.50). The average for all employees was $39.10 per hour.

Across industries, average hourly earnings were lowest in the Accommodation and food services industry ($25.90), and highest in the Mining industry ($60.60).

Bruce Hockman, Chief Economist at the ABS, said "Full-time employees, who make up the majority of employees, received an average earnings of $1,699 per week, which would be around $88,000 in annual terms.” The latest figure for all employees, which also includes people working part-time, was $1,289.

Weekly earnings were higher for men working full-time ($1,811) than for women working full-time ($1,516). However, women working part-time earned slightly more, on average, than men working part-time ($669 compared to $666).

The top quarter of earners in Australia received more than $1,686 per week, while the lowest earning quarter received less than $682.

The most common method of setting pay was a collective agreement (40 per cent), followed by an individual arrangement (37 per cent). Less than a quarter of employees were paid according to an award (23 per cent).

"Men were more likely to have their pay set by an individual arrangement (44 per cent), whereas the most common method for women was a collective agreement (42 per cent)," said Mr Hockman.

Data from this survey are used in two of the three gender pay gap measures reported in Gender Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 4125.0). Updated measures will be released on Wednesday, 23 January 2019, incorporating information from this release.

About this release:

  • This release is conducted every two years with a May reference period;
  • Measures include hourly and weekly earnings, as well as bonuses, leave taken, overtime hours;
  • Provides a breakdown by age, sex, state and territory, industry and sector, and business size; and
  • Records method of setting pay such as by Award, Collective agreement, Individual arrangement, or if set by the Owner manager of an incorporated enterprise.


Further information is available in Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2018 (cat. no. 6306.0), available for free download from the ABS website at

    Media notes

    • Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
    • For media requests and interviews, contact ABS Media on 1300 175 070 or at (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
    • Subscribe to our media release notification service to be notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
    Back to top of the page