Wages rose 0.4% in the June quarter 2021

Media Release

The seasonally adjusted Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.4 per cent in June quarter 2021, with the annual growth rate at 1.7 per cent, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Michelle Marquardt, Head of Prices Statistics at the ABS said: “The June quarter saw the rate of growth in hourly earnings ease to 0.4 per cent, following two quarters of 0.6 per cent wage growth. The rate of growth over the quarter was one of the lowest rates recorded for the series.“

“Apart from a few isolated examples of skills shortages placing pressure on employers to meet expected market rates, the private sector wage growth recorded over the quarter (0.5 per cent) was generally subdued.

Public sector wages rose by 0.4 per cent for the third consecutive quarter, dampened by on-going negotiations around new enterprise agreements and the postponement of scheduled wage rises."

Compared to June quarter 2020, private sector hourly wage rates rose 1.9 per cent in June quarter 2021. Ms Marquardt said, “The annual rate of private sector wage growth was influenced somewhat by the initial dip in wages recorded in June quarter 2020, when the first impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were recorded in the WPI.

The public sector recorded its lowest annual rate of growth (1.3 per cent) since the series commenced in 1997.

In original terms, the lowest quarterly wage growth by industry was 0.1 per cent for the Electricity, gas, water and waste services, Transport, postal and warehousing, Health care and social assistance and Arts and recreational services industries. The highest was 0.6 percent for the Rental hiring and real estate services industry.

Across the country rates of growth varied, with the Northern Territory recording the lowest quarterly growth (0.1 per cent) while the Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest (0.6 per cent).

While not affecting the hourly earnings measured in the WPI, changes recorded in employment levels and hours worked within the labour market can influence average earnings. These changes will be reflected in Average Weekly Earnings released tomorrow, Thursday 19 August.

The ABS would like to thank businesses for continuing to respond to our surveys during these difficult times.

Further information is available in Wage Price Index, Australia available for free download from the ABS website: http://www.abs.gov.au/.

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • The Wage Price Index publishes estimates of the change in hourly rates of pay, unaffected by compositional shifts in the labour force, hours worked, or employee characteristics.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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