Wages continue historic growth

Wage growth in Australia has continued above 4% in the 12 months to March, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Wage growth in Australia

Wages grew by 4.1% over the year to March, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Annual wages have dropped slightly from the 15-year high reported in December of 4.2%.

Wage growth in Australia

Annual wage growth for the year to March 2024 was highest in Tasmania (4.9%), and lowest in the ACT (3.2%).

Healthcare and social assistance workers saw a 5.3% rise in wages — the highest of any industry. Retail and transport workers also saw wages increase above the national average (4.4% and 4.3% respectively).

Arts sector employees (3.1%) were among those with the smallest wage increases.

Future wage rises?

Australia has been in a period of high inflation (rising prices) since 2022. Wages commonly increase during these periods, to meet rising costs.

As part of this week’s Federal Budget, the Australian Government projected wage growth to slow over the coming years, as inflation is expected to stabilise following two years of increases.

The Government said it expected wage growth to slow to 3.25% over the next two years, before rising slightly to 3.5% from 2026.

Real wages

As wages have grown, so have the prices of essential items (inflation). While Australians may have made more money in 2023, they also had to spend more on basics like petrol and food.

In the March quarter, wage growth (4.1%) outpaced the rate of inflation (3.6%).

This suggests that more Australians are seeing an increase in their ‘real’ wage — how much wages grow above the rate of inflation. The Government projects inflation to drop to below 3% by the end of 2024, and further rises to ‘real’ wages.

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