Average weekly earnings rise in May

Media Release

Average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults was $1,838 in May 2023, according to new seasonally adjusted figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, said: “The annual increase of 3.9 per cent, or $68 per week, represented continuing strong annual growth in average weekly earnings for full-time workers. 

“Other than a brief spike in average earnings early in the pandemic, when lower paying jobs were particularly impacted, this is the strongest annual growth since May 2013.

“The recent rise in average earnings reflects strong wage growth in the Education and training and Health care and social assistance industries.

"The gap in average weekly ordinary full-time earnings, the most commonly cited of the gender pay gap measures, fell for the second straight cycle to the lowest level on record, down to 13.0 per cent. This lines up with the increase in full-time wages in female-dominated jobs such as teaching and nursing.

"The gap is now around 0.9 points lower than just before the pandemic (13.9 per cent in November 2019), 4.4 points below where it was a decade ago (17.4 per cent in May 2013) and around 2.0 points below the pre-Mining boom low in 2005."

The ABS’ Wage Price Index, released on Tuesday, also reflected strong wage growth, rising by 3.6 per cent over the year.

In the six months to May 2023, average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults grew at the same pace in both the private and public sectors (1.7 per cent). However, the public sector remained higher paid, on average, at $1,999 per week compared with $1,797 in the private sector.

Average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time workers was highest in Western Australia ($2,039) and the Australian Capital Territory ($2,028) and remains lowest in Tasmania ($1,619) and South Australia ($1,678).

Workers in the Mining industry remain the highest paid on average, at $2,854 a week for full-time employees. This is followed by those in Information media and telecommunications ($2,318) and Professional, scientific and technical services ($2,171).

The lowest paid full-time workers on average are in the Accommodation and food services ($1,347) and Other services ($1,383) industries.

Average earnings for part-time employees also saw strong growth over the past year, reflected in average earnings for all employees increasing by 4.1 per cent.

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 that 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 males and females, 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 males and females 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.
  • An alternative source for estimates of movements in earnings (wages growth) is the quarterly Wage Price Index (WPI). Unlike AWE, the WPI is designed to measure the change over time in the price of wages and salaries (i.e. a pure price change, unaffected by the changes in the quality or quantity of work performed or the composition of the workforce.)
  • 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.
  • Data in this media release refer to seasonally adjusted data for all series excluding industry data, which are original estimates.
  • 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).
  • You can now access high resolution images of ABS spokespeople, including Bjorn Jarvis, from our new image library.
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