Average earnings guide
Learn about our average earnings measures and how to use them
Average earnings can be represented as either a median or mean value.
While the mean is the most commonly understood measure of average, median measures are most representative of an "average" employee’s earnings as earnings data has a positively skewed distribution. The mean is higher than the median value because of a small number of people with very high earnings.
The Earnings guide includes information about other earnings measures.
Median weekly earnings
- Most representative measure of the "average" level of earnings.
- Provides the "middle" earnings figure, where half of people earn more than the median earnings value and half earn less than the median earnings value.
- Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia includes median earnings by age, method of setting pay, employment status, occupation and industry.
- Employee earnings includes median earnings by education qualification, main and secondary jobs, and working arrangements.
Mean (average) weekly earnings
- The arithmetic average, calculated by dividing total earnings by the total number of people (or employees).
- Often just referred to as average earnings, however they do not represent the earnings of the "average" person.
- Average Weekly Earnings, Australia includes mean weekly earnings by industry, state/territory and public/private sector.
- Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia includes average hourly total earnings for non-managerial employees in addition to a range of weekly estimates.
- Managerial employees (more likely to have high earnings) are excluded so these EEH estimates are closer to median measures than estimates from AWE.
- Employee earnings includes mean earnings by education qualification, main and secondary jobs, and working arrangements.
- Personal Income in Australia includes average income estimates for small geographic areas.
- Give more detail than average measures by providing information on the range of earnings of the population.
- Refer to the level of earnings at which a certain percentage of people earn more or less than that value.
- For example, 50% of people earn more and 50% earn less than the median (midpoint) value, 75% earn more than the 1st (of 4) quartile and 25% earn less, 10% earn more than the 9th (of ten) decile and 90% earn less.
- Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia provides robust estimates by full-time/part-time status, method of setting pay, occupation and industry.
- Employee earnings provides earnings distribution data by education qualification, working arrangements and main job.
- Personal Income in Australia provides income distributions for small geographic areas.