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. Average Weekly Earnings, along with Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, provides insights into the gender pay gap. The range of ABS gender pay gap measures can be found in the ABS Gender Indicators, along with a useful guide to the gender pay gap.
For more information on compositional changes, see Spotlight: Increases in Average Weekly Earnings – compositional changes during the COVID-19 period.