Latest release

Average Weekly Earnings, Australia

Estimates of weekly earnings classified by industry, sector, state and territory

Reference period
November 2021
Released
24/02/2022
  • Next Release 18/08/2022
    Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2022
  • Next Release 23/02/2023
    Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, November 2022
  • View all releases

Key statistics

Estimates for average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults (seasonally adjusted):

  • Increased by 2.1% to $1,748.40 annually to November 2021.
  • Males: $2,025.20 (public), and $1,812.30 (private).
  • Females: $1,799.30 (public), and $1,504.80 (private).
Average weekly earnings, key statistics
 Nov 2021Nov 2020 to Nov 2021
$% change
Seasonally AdjustedFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings (a)1,748.402.1
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,812.702.4
All employees average weekly total earnings (a)1,328.903.8
OriginalFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings1,748.402.1
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,813.002.4
All employees average weekly total earnings1,328.903.8

(a) This component is not seasonally adjusted.

Survey impacts and changes

COVID-19 impacts on average weekly earnings

The COVID-19 period has been unprecedented in the scale and speed of changes in the labour market. As various restrictions to control COVID-19 have been implemented, relaxed and lifted, employment and hours have changed considerably.

The May 2020 cycle of the Survey of Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) collected data from businesses for the last pay period ending on or before 15 May 2020. At that stage, there were widespread social distancing and other business-related restrictions in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These restrictions led to a large decrease in the number of jobs, people employed and hours worked, with lower paid jobs and industries particularly impacted, including jobs in Accommodation and food services, Arts and recreation services, and Other services. The large-scale loss of lower paid jobs in these industries had the effect of increasing the value of average weekly earnings at the total economy level. The full-time adult average weekly earnings increased by 3.3 per cent biannually over this time. 

By the November 2020 cycle, lower paid employment and hours had partly recovered, which resulted in a 0.1 per cent fall in average weekly earnings. While the recovery varied by industry and other factors, there was sufficient recovery at the lower end of the earnings distribution to put downward pressure on average earnings. In November, employment was 1.3 per cent below March 2020 (as per Labour Force, Australia estimates).

The May 2021 reference period (the last pay period ending on or before 21 May 2021) fell prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 cases related to the Delta variant and the related lockdowns and other restrictions to contain its spread. At the time, employment was 1.1 per cent above March 2020 and many restrictions had eased. The full-time adult average weekly earnings increased by 1.5 per cent between November 2020 and May 2021, reflecting the further shift towards a more typical earnings distribution and more usual six-monthly change in average earnings.

The November 2021 reference period (the last pay period ending on or before 19 November 2021) fell after many of the Delta-related restrictions had been lifted and prior to the emergence of the Omicron variant. By November, employment had recovered to 1.4 per cent above March 2020, with further recovery in lower paid jobs (e.g. in Accommodation and food services) contributing to relatively low biannual growth in the full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings (0.6 per cent).

Suspension of trend estimates

Since May 2020, trend estimates have been suspended for all average weekly earnings series. The reinstatement of trend series will be reviewed in future cycles. 

Continuing use of forward factors for seasonal adjustment

In the May 2020 Average Weekly Earnings release, the ABS changed the method used to produce seasonally adjusted estimates from the ‘concurrent’ method to the ‘forward factors’ method. The forward factors approach is better suited to managing large movements at the end point of series and ensures that large movements do not have a disproportionate influence on the seasonal factors. The forward factor approach is not considered suitable for series with a non-seasonal span, and the concurrent adjustment method continued to be used for these series. 

Given the large movements in the labour market during the COVID-19 period and the continuing use of a forward factors approach to seasonal adjustment, the ABS undertook an extensive annual review of its seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings series, prior to the release of the May 2021 estimates. Static forward factors for the next 12 months were calculated through this annual process and were used from the May 2021 release.

For further information on seasonal adjustment during a period of uncertainty please see: Seasonal adjustment throughout periods of significant disruption and uncertainty | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au).

Survey response remains high in November

Responses for the Average Weekly Earnings November 2021 cycle remained high. The ABS would like to thank Australian businesses for their continued support in responding to our surveys during such a difficult time, given how critically important this information is. 

Understanding compositional changes in earnings

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' Average Weekly Earnings survey is designed to measure the level of average earnings in Australia at a point in time. Movements in average weekly earnings can be affected by changes in both the level of earnings per employee and in the composition of the labour force. Factors which can contribute to compositional change include variation in the proportion of full-time, part-time, casual and junior employees; variation in the occupational distribution within and across industries; variation in the distribution of employment between industries; and variation in the distribution of hours worked and paid for.

It is also important to note that while Average Weekly Earnings data can be used to compare, at the very broad level, average earnings between males and females, such comparisons do not take into account a range of compositional differences. For example, differences in occupation or hours worked can contribute significantly to the differences observed between male and female earnings. Details of occupation and hours worked are not collected in the Average Weekly Earnings survey. For further comparisons between male and female wages, including hourly rates and by occupation, refer to Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia

For more information on compositional changes, see Spotlight: Increases in Average Weekly Earnings – compositional changes during the COVID-19 period

Australia

Average weekly earnings, seasonally adjusted
 Nov 2021Nov 2020 to Nov 2021
$% change
MalesFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings (a)1,846.502.3
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,934.802.6
All employees average weekly total earnings (a)1,577.103.3
FemalesFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings (a)1,591.201.9
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,618.002.2
All employees average weekly total earnings1,093.804.1
PersonsFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings (a)1,748.402.1
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,812.702.4
All employees average weekly total earnings (a)1,328.903.8

(a) This component is not seasonally adjusted.

Average weekly earnings, original
 Nov 2021Nov 2020 to Nov 2021
$% change
MalesFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings1,846.502.3
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,935.702.6
All employees average weekly total earnings1,577.103.3
FemalesFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings1,591.201.9
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,616.602.2
All employees average weekly total earnings1,093.804.1
PersonsFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings1,748.402.1
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,813.002.4
All employees average weekly total earnings1,328.903.8

Private and public sector

Average weekly earnings, by sector, original
 Nov 2021Nov 2020 to Nov 2021
$% change
AustraliaFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings1,748.402.1
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,813.002.4
All employees average weekly total earnings1,328.903.8
Private SectorFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings1,706.402.2
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,771.402.4
All employees average weekly total earnings1,265.904.1
Public SectorFull-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings1,907.502.4
Full-time adult average weekly total earnings1,970.902.8
All employees average weekly total earnings1,609.402.9

Industry

State and territory

Cash earnings (includes salary sacrifice)

Data downloads

Changes to Excel file format on the ABS website

In line with updating to more recent technology formats, the ABS will progressively transition to releasing Excel files in the .XLSX format. This means that timeseries spreadsheets in the suite of labour statistics releases will be progressively upgraded from .XLS files to .XLSX files.

While this change will improve usability, it may also require changes to automated macros or similar programs that users may have in place that call on the current file extension format.

For Average Weekly Earnings, this change will take effect from the release of November data on 24 February 2022. Previously released data will not change.

Changes will be reflected in other labour statistics from the following dates:

  • Labour Force, released on 16 December 2021
  • Job Vacancies, released on 12 January 2022
  • Employee Earnings and Hours, released on 19 January 2022
  • Labour Account, to be released on 9 March 2022
  • Industrial Disputes, to be released on 10 March 2022

Some labour statistics, such as Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia, already publish Excel data in .XLSX format. No changes will be required for those releases.

Trend estimates suspension

Trend estimates have been suspended from May 2020 for all Average Weekly Earnings series due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market.

Australia

Data files

Sector

Data files

Industry

Data files

State and territory

Data files

State by sector

Data files

Cash earnings (includes salary sacrifice)

Data files

All November 2021 spreadsheets

Time series spreadsheets

Seasonality

Some of the seasonally adjusted series above do not display seasonality, so they are not seasonally adjusted. In these cases the seasonally adjusted figure will be the same as the original series. The file below lists the treatment of each of these series.

Seasonality guide

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6302.0.