A look into an average Australian's pay packet

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A worker arrives at his office in the Canary Wharf business district in London, Britain February 26, 2014. Reuters/Eddie Keogh

The average earnings of private sector workers in Australia rose by only 0.8 percent to $1,123.50 in the year to May. Meanwhile, government and other publicly employed employees have seen their average pay climbed by 4 percent to $1,410.60.

The latest Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) poll from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that the average weekly pay was $1,179 at the end of May this year, leaving it up a paltry 1.6 percent from the previous year. Consumer price inflation runs at 1.9 percent in the year to June this year. That means the weekly pay for the average Aussie worker has gone backwards over the year.

The latest AWE report has estimated the average value of gross wages and salaries paid to employees. To calculate, the total earnings of workers is divided by the total number of employees in any given week. According to the ABS, the average weekly earnings of full-time workers rose by 1.8 percent to $1,543.20 over the same period.

Gap between private and public-sector workers

The WPI release for the June quarter shows a gap between the average weekly earnings for private and public sector workers during the same period. Those who work in the public sector have seen their pay increased almost five times faster than private sector workers.

Full-time public sector earnings climbed by 2.8 percent to $1,686 over the year. Those in the private sector saw a 1.4 percent rise to $1,503.90.

Moreover, the ABS said that average weekly earnings for women rose at a faster pace than men over the year. Females’ average earnings rose by 2.3 percent to $946.800. For males, they rose by 1.6 percent to $1,417.20.

Gender and location

For full-time employees, female ordinary earnings climbed by 2.6 percent to $1,386.60 from a year earlier. Earnings for male employees working full-time increased by 1.5 percent to $1,637.20.

The AWE data can be utilised to compare average earnings between men and women at a comprehensive level, the ABS said. However, it does not take a few compositional differences into account, including occupation or hours worked that contribute significantly to the difference seen between male and female earnings.

In terms of location, the ACT still has the highest average weekly earnings level for full-time employees at $1,774.10. It has beaten Western Australia and the Northern Territory for top spot with average earnings of $1,714.70 and $1,616.50 respectively, Business Insider notes.

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