Wage growth sees full-time employees earn $81 extra per week, ABS data reveals

Australians have had their first real wage increase since 2021, with the mining sector coming out on top as the highest earners.

Average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults has increased by $81 a week over the past year.

The average weekly salary for Australians reached $1888.80 in November, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, said it was the strongest since May 2013, other than a brief spike in average earnings early in the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The gender pay gap in average weekly ordinary full-time earnings, the most commonly cited of the gender pay gap measures, narrowed to 12 per cent, down from 13 per cent in May 2023, and the lowest level on record,” he said.

“This was the third drop in the gender pay gap in a row, down to a new record low.

“This narrowing in the gap reflected stronger growth in average full-time earnings for women, 3.5 per cent over the past six months, compared with 2.3 per cent for men.”

Workers in the mining industry remained the highest paid on average, at $2952 per week for full-time employees.

Those working in information media and telecommunications were in second spot, earning $2406 per week on average, while professional, scientific and technical services earned $2223.

The lowest paid full-time workers on average were in the accommodation and food services ($1397) and retail trade ($1435) industries.

The average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time workers was highest in Western Australia ($2108) and the Australian Capital Territory ($2080), and lowest in Tasmania ($1670) and South Australia ($1735).

The latest data comes after annual wages growth hit an almost 15-year high, lifting 4.2 per cent in the 12 months to December 2023.

According to the ABS, the result, up 0.9 per cent in the final quarter of the year, contributed to the highest annual growth since March 2009.

Wage growth is now outpacing the inflation rate, which hit 4.1 per cent through the end of 2023, for the first time since March 2021.

“The recent rise in average earnings reflects strong wage growth, with the wage price index rising by 4.2 per cent in the year to December quarter 2023,” Mr Jarvis said.

“This was the highest annual increase in underlying wage growth since March quarter 2009.

“Average earnings growth was supported by increases in both the private sector, which rose by 4.4 per cent, and public sector, up by 4.9 per cent.”

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