This is what happened to average wages over the last year

The ABS released its Average Weekly Earnings figures for the year to May 2015 over the past week.

This follows on from the Wage Price Index figures which showed wages growing by +2.3 per cent over the past year.

The average weekly earnings figures, give an…erm, average result…and therefore tends to differ somewhat from the wage price index data.

In the year to May 2015, trend series full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings increased by +2.0 per cent to $1,484.50.

Interestingly, average female full time ordinary time earnings (+2.6 per cent) and average female full time total earnings (+2.6 per cent) bith fared relatively well.


Howver, male full time ordinary time earnings were considerably weaker (+2.0 per cent) while average male full time total earnings also followed suit (+2.0 per cent).

Average weekly total earnings growth was some way lower again for both sexes, implying that hefty project completion bonuses are no longer the order of the day.

What gives?

Firstly, over the past year there has been anemic growth in average earnings in the male-dominated industries of mining and construction.

Secondly this has occurred whilst the bulk of the new jobs created in the year to May 2015 were in services industry roles.

You can find which of the industries have been adding the greatest number of positions and in which states in earlier posts on this blog.

State versus state

The state level data presented below is not seasonally adjusted and overall is better treated as a high level indicator more than anything else, but it shows strong average full time total earnings growth in New South Wales, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, offset by declines elsewhere.

The industry level data suggests that states where mining construction has been heavily concentrated are likely to see a drag on their averages.

More generally, with services industries accounting for the bulk of employment growth and a fair amount of slack remaining in the labour market, earnings growth on average is likely to be soft for the next few years.


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Pete Wargent


Pete Wargent is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. He’s achieved financial freedom at the age of 33 - as detailed in his book ‘Get a Financial Grip – A Simple Plan for Financial Freedom’. Pete now manages his investment portfolio, travels and works as a consultant in the finance industry from time to time. Visit his blog

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