Average full-time earnings up 2.1 per cent over 2021

Media Release

Average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults was $1,748 in November 2021, up 2.1 per cent ($37) over the year, according to new seasonally adjusted figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: “Following relatively large fluctuations in average earnings during the pandemic, the 2.1 per cent change in average earnings over 2021 was more consistent with underlying wage growth from the Wage Price Index released yesterday, at 2.3 per cent.”

The latest data is for mid-November, which was after the labour market had recovered from most of the Delta period impacts and before the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“The six-monthly increase of 0.6 per cent, between May and November 2021, followed a larger increase of 1.5 per cent before that, highlighting the extent of compositional changes in employment and hours through the second half of 2021. Throughout 2021, full-time jobs were still progressively returning or reverting back to full-time hours in some lower paying industries, like Accommodation and food services.

“There was also some upward pressure on average full-time earnings from higher paying industries over the last six months, including in Construction, Information media and telecommunications, and Financial and insurance services,” Mr Jarvis said.

Workers in the Mining industry remained the highest paid on average, at $2,656 per week for full-time workers, followed by those in Information media and telecommunications, at $2,178, and Financial and insurance services ($2,116).

The lowest paid workers on average were in the Accommodation and food services ($1,219) and Retail trade ($1,314) industries.

Over the six months, average weekly ordinary time earnings for women working full-time rose by 1.0 per cent (to $1,591), which was higher than for men (up 0.5 per cent to $1,846).

“The gap in the headline measures of average weekly full-time earnings for women and men narrowed from 14.2 per cent in May 2021 to 13.8 per cent in November 2021. The only time it was lower than this was in November 2020,” Mr Jarvis said.

“The gap in average full-time earnings was highest in the Professional, scientific & technical services industry and lowest in the group of industries that make up ‘Other services’.”

This latest gender earnings data follows last month’s release of hourly earnings data, which showed men earned more than women in all occupation groups, with the gap ranging between 10 and 19 per cent.

Average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time workers continued to be highest in the Australian Capital Territory ($1,981) and Western Australia ($1,896) and remained lowest in Tasmania ($1,542) and South Australia ($1,591).

The ABS would like to thank businesses in Australia for their continued support in responding to our surveys during these challenging times.

Media notes

  • Percentage movements in average weekly earnings can be affected by changes in both the level of earnings per employee and in the composition of employment. Factors which can contribute to compositional change include variations in the proportion of full-time, part-time, casual and junior employees; variations in the occupational distribution within and across industries; and variations in the distribution of employment between industries.
  • These statistics provide insights into weekly earnings for men and women, including information by industry, sector, and state/territory of work. They are one of the best sources of information for measuring weekly earnings differences between men and women in Australia, and complement a range of other related statistics produced by the ABS (e.g. Employee Earnings and Hours and Characteristics of Employment) and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
  • Estimates of percentage change have been calculated using unrounded estimates and may be different from, but are more accurate than, movements obtained from calculating percentage changes using the rounded estimates presented in this publication.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
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