6293.0.00.007 - Occasional Paper: Dynamics of Earned Income in Australia -- An Application Using the Survey of Employment and Unemployment Patterns, 1994 to 1997  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/02/2001   
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February 22, 2001
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Study using ABS data shows earnings mobility

A new study by University of Canberra researchers, using Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, shows a high degree of mobility in people's earnings. Almost half of all employees and a third of full-time employees, experienced a change in their weekly earnings - up or down - of 10% or more over a two-year period.

However, for most employees the change in earnings over this period did not significantly change their earnings position in relation to other employees. People with higher earnings experienced the greatest stability, with about 90% remaining in the same or adjoining weekly earnings group after a two year period, compared to 60% of people with lower earnings. Only about 25% of all employees changed their relative position by more than one weekly earnings group.

The study, by Annie Carino-Abello, David Pederson and Anthony King of the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra, uses data from the ABS Longitudinal Survey of Employment and Unemployment Patterns, which followed a group of respondents between September 1994 and September 1997.

Findings from the study also showed that for employees changing from low to higher earnings, the changes were associated with movements from part-time to full-time work, improvements in educational attainment, and changes in industry and occupation. For employees changing from higher to low earnings, the changes were mainly associated with moves from full-time to part-time work and moves to lower level occupations.

Further details are in Dynamics of Earned Income in Australia (cat. no. 6293.0.00.007), available from ABS Bookshop. The views expressed in this Occasional Paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the ABS or the University of Canberra. A summary of the main features of this study are available on this site.