Australian’s average salary climbed above $90,000 for the first time, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but a leading economist has warned the data doesn’t show the true picture.
The date from May showed Aussie professionals working 38 hours a week are now earning $1737.10 a week.
It also showed a 1.4 per cent rise in the average salary, excluding bonuses and overtime, compared to last year bringing up the average salary to $90,329.
For those who were lucky to score extra money such as for overtime, the average salary rose to $93,496.
However, when the wages of both part-time and full-time workers were factored in, the average salary dropped to $67,902 or $1306 before tax.
But the data doesn’t truly reflect the real state of affairs, according to Peter Martin, visiting fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University.
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Instead he said the figures were “bizarre” and came about as many low income earners lost their job in May last year meaning it pushed the average salary up much higher than it is in reality.
Wage growth has actually been “dire” in recent years, he said.
“It’s hard to see it getting back to the 3 per cent that was common from 1998 and until the time the Coalition got elected in 2013, and it’s just a coincidence but until then wage growth was nearly always between 3 and 4 per cent and then it went down and down,” he told news.com.au.
“During coincidentally the Abbott and Turnbull years, it got down as low as 2 per cent and now it’s shot down to around 1.5 per cent and now it’s just turning up a bit.”
Mr Martin said record savings by Aussies, which sit at close to 12 per cent for households, also impacts on wages.
People aren’t spending money, which makes it harder for companies to increase salaries as they can’t push up the prices of goods or services and pass some of this on to employees, he said.
“Employers are using means other than wage rises to attract staff … and for people who are in danger of leaving, they are using changed conditions like you can work from home or they will give you a sign-on bonus and that’s more effective in attracting or retaining staff and much cheaper than giving everyone a wage rise,” he said.