Median weekly earnings of employees rose 2.3% in 2019


The median weekly earnings of employees rose by 2.3 per cent from August 2018 to August 2019, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This increase, based on data collected with the Labour Force Survey, is consistent with increases observed in the Wage Price Index and Average Weekly Earnings.

Over the year to August 2019, the median weekly earnings of female employees rose by 4.3 per cent, while male employee earnings rose 1.3 per cent.

Head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, Bjorn Jarvis, said: “Median weekly earnings for male employees rose by less than that of female employees, partly because of the growing number of males working part-time hours, and the industries and occupations that men and women are working in.”

The figures also show gradual changes in working arrangements over time. There was an increase in the proportion of employed people with access to flexible working hours (34 per cent in August 2019, up from 32 per cent in August 2015) and who regularly worked at home (32 per cent, up from 30 per cent).

There was a decrease in the proportion of employed people who usually worked overtime (34 per cent in August 2019, down from 36 per cent in August 2015), or were on call or standby (22 per cent, down from 24 per cent).

The Characteristics of Employment Survey is run each August, in conjunction with the monthly Labour Force Survey. It collects information on earnings, working arrangements and forms of employment (including independent contracting), as well as trade union membership and labour hire every second year. Further details can be found in Characteristics of Employment, Australia, August 2019 (cat. no. 6333.0) available for free download from

Media note

  • For further information about income and earnings see the Fact Sheet: Income and Earnings, published in the Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).
  • For further information about the range of labour statistics produced by the ABS see the article ABS Labour Statistics: A broad range of information included with the Characteristics of Employment publication.
  • “Median” is a statistical term referring to the middle point of a distribution. In the case of earnings, it refers to the earnings of the person in the middle of the distribution, with the same number of people earning more and less than them. Unlike means or simple averages, medians are not skewed by very high and very low earners.
  • “Employees” are the subset of employed people who worked for an employer and received remuneration by wage, salary or otherwise. See the Glossary for further information.
  • Earnings are the pre-tax amount paid to employees for work done or time worked (including paid leave), and are a subset of employee income. See the Fact Sheet linked above for more details.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS media team on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
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