Stronger wage growth lifts average earnings

Media Release

Average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults was $1,808 in November 2022, according to new seasonally adjusted figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, said: “The recent annual increase in full-time average earnings of 3.4 per cent, or $59 per week, is the highest it has been since May 2020, when low paid jobs were particularly impacted during the lockdowns early in the pandemic.

"Prior to the pandemic, the last time it increased by more than that during a year, was in May 2013, when it increased by 5.3 per cent.

“The rise in average earnings reflects strong wage growth, particularly in skilled occupations, including in industries such as Mining and Professional, scientific and technical services.”

The increase in average weekly earnings, which is a compositional measure of earnings, was similar to the wage growth seen in the ABS’ Wage Price Index, released yesterday, which rose by 3.3 per cent over the year.

Over the six months to November 2022, average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults grew at a stronger rate in the private sector (2.4 per cent) than in the public sector (1.4 per cent). However, the public sector remained higher paid on average at $1,965 compared with $1,768 in the private sector.

Average Weekly Earnings, along with Employee Earnings and Hours, provides insights into the gender pay gap. The six key ABS gender pay gap measures can be found in the ABS Gender Indicators on the ABS website, along with a useful Gender pay gap guide.

“The most commonly cited gender pay gap measure, the gap in average weekly ordinary full-time earnings, fell to its lowest level on record, down to 13.3 per cent. While this had fluctuated through the first two years of the pandemic, in November 2022 it was 0.6 percentage points below its pre-pandemic level of 13.9 per cent in November 2019,” Mr Jarvis said.

Average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time workers continued to be highest in the Australian Capital Territory ($2,014) and Western Australia ($1,988) and remained lowest in Tasmania ($1,586) and South Australia ($1,657).

Workers in the Mining industry remained the highest paid on average, at $2,812 per week for full-time employees, followed by those in Information media and telecommunications, at $2,271, and Financial and insurance services ($2,201).

The lowest paid full-time workers on average were in the Accommodation and food services ($1,294) and Other services ($1,333) industries.

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 (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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