ABS: Wages grew one per cent in last quarter, well below inflation

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ABS: Wages grew one per cent in last quarter, well below inflation

Australian wages have grown at less than half of the annual rate of inflation, new data has revealed, with public sector workers lagging behind.

Wages have risen 1 per cent over the last three months, while the annual average is a growth of 3.1 per cent.

While the quarter marks the fastest rate of quarterly nominal wages growth since March 2012, the consumer price index at 7.3 per cent means real wages are 4.2 per cent lower over the year and have fallen back to 2011 levels.

In the private sector, wages grew 1.2 per cent over the quarter; while workers in the public sector had their pay increased by just 0.6 per cent.

Over the year, the growth in private sector wages was 3.4 per cent compared with 2.4 per cent in the public sector.

The highest quarterly and annual growth was recorded in the retail trade industry (2.4 per cent and 4.2 per cent) due to two award increases during the year.

The education and training industry recorded the lowest quarterly (0.8 per cent) and annual (2.2 per cent) growth across all industries.

Michelle Marquardt from the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the quarterly growth across all sectors had been primarily driven by wage increases for the private sector.

“Labour market pressures in the private sector combined with the largest Fair Work Commission award increase in more than a decade saw rises in both the size of average wage changes and the proportion of private sector jobs recording a wage change,” she said.

“The average size of hourly wage increase for those jobs where the wage rate moved was 4.3 per cent, up from 2.9 per cent in the September 2021 quarter.

“Nearly half (46.4 per cent) of private sector jobs recorded a change in their hourly wage rate this quarter compared to around one-third (33.9 per cent) in the same quarter last year.”

Ms Marquardt said a significant contribution to wages growth this quarter came from jobs “paid by individual arrangement”.

“These are mostly private sector jobs where employers paid increases based on end of financial year wage and salary reviews or interim increases as a retention strategy,” she said.

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