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RECENT TRENDS IN EARNINGS
USING DATA FROM THE CHARACTERISTICS OF EMPLOYMENT SURVEY TO INFORM ON RECENT TRENDS IN EARNINGS
Wage Price Index and Average Weekly Earnings figures have indicated that the overall growth in wages and earnings have decreased in recent years, with a downwards shift occurring from 2012 through 2017 (see Wage Price Index and Average Weekly Earnings).
Using information produced from the Characteristics of Employment Survey, an annual supplementary survey collected in conjunction with the monthly Labour Force Survey in August, it is possible to explore earnings by different demographic and employment characteristics (see Labour Statistics: concepts, sources and methods for information on the different outputs of earnings and wages produced by the ABS). This article presents and contrasts the earnings of employees over the recent five year period of reduced earnings growth, August 2012 to August 2017, against the five year period prior to this, August 2007 to August 2012, according to a range of employment characteristics.
The first part of this article compares the average weekly earnings growth of male and female employees in 2007- 2012 and 2012-2017 in conjunction with the compositional changes that have occurred in full-time – part-time and casual employment over the decade. The second part of the article focuses on casual and permanent full-time male employees, contrasting the earnings of these two groups according to their occupation skill level, industry and tenure of employment.
While the primary focus of the article is to present a high level summary on the groups and specific employment characteristics noted above, further information on other groups and their detailed employment characteristics are provided in the data cubes and associated microdata products (see Characteristics of Employment).
FULL TIME AND PART TIME EMPLOYEES IN MAIN JOB: MEDIAN WEEKLY EARNINGS – BY SEX
The proportion of full-time employees decreased from 70.6% in August 2008 to 67.6% in August 2017 (figure 1.0, appendix tab 1). This decline in the proportion of full-time employees was seen for both men and women, with the proportion of full-time male employees reducing from 84.8% in August 2008 to 81.6% in August 2017, and the proportion of full-time female employees reducing from 55.1% to 53.2% (appendix tab 1).
The overall proportion of casual employees increased from 23.5% in August 2012 to 25.1% in August 2017, with the proportion of casual male employees increasing from 21.0% to 23.1% and the proportion of casual female employees increasing from 26.2% to 27.1% (figure 2.0, appendix tab 2). This represents an increase of 472,000 casual employees from 2007 to 2017.
Meanwhile the average annual growth of median weekly earnings for full-time casual employees fell during 2012-2017, when compared to 2007-2012, whilst that of part-time casual employees remained relatively stable across the periods (figure 2.2, appendix tab 2).
From August 2013 to August 2017, the proportions of both male and female full-time casual employees increased (figure 3.0, appendix tab 3).
As illustrated in figure 3.1, the average annual growth of median weekly earnings for casual full-time male employees was 0.8% in 2012-2017, down from the 4.1% recorded in 2007-2012. In contrast to this, the average growth of median weekly earnings for permanent full-time male employees also reduced, yet not to the same extent, reducing to 2.3% in 2012-2017 from 4.6% in 2007-2012. This was much more pronounced than the difference for casual full time females which was 2.7% in 2012-2017, down from 3.0% in 2007-2012, and permanent full time females which was 2.6% in 2012-2017 down from 4.2% in 2007-2012. Although the remainder of this brief article exclusively explores these more pronounced differences for males, similar analysis of data for females can be undertaken from the data in this release.
While weekly earnings can be affected by changes in the number of hours worked (and paid for), hourly earnings provide a more directly comparable measure. The estimated median hourly earnings of casual full-time male employees increased from $24.70 in August 2012 to $26.30 in August 2017 - with average annual growth of hourly earnings being 1.3% over the 2012-2017 period. In contrast, the median hourly earnings of permanent full-time male employees increased from $30.00 in August 2012 to $34.60 in August 2017 – with average annual growth of hourly earnings being 2.9% over the 2012-2017 period (figure 4.0, appendix tab 4).
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).
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