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Aussie wages grow 3.3%, but still lagging behind inflation

Aussie wages grew slower than expected last year and are still lagging behind inflation.

Workers in the city. Australian money notes. Wages.
Aussie wages grew 0.8 per cent in the December quarter and 3.3 per cent annually. (Source: Getty)

Aussie pay packets grew 3.3 per cent annually, but they’re still lagging behind the rising cost of living.

The Wage Price Index increased by 0.8 per cent in the December quarter and 3.3 per cent over the year, following a 3.1 per cent lift in September, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Private-sector wages grew faster, rising 0.8 per cent over the quarter and 3.6 per cent annually. Meanwhile, public-sector wages rose 0.7 per cent quarterly and 2.5 per cent annually.

Despite being lower than the September quarter, ABS head of prices statistics Michelle Marquardt said the rise was higher than any December-quarter increase across the past decade.

“This follows on from the September and June 2022 quarters, which were also higher than their comparable quarters, back to 2012,” Marquardt said.

“In combination these quarterly increases have resulted in the highest annual growth in hourly wages since December quarter 2012.”

Wage growth is still lagging behind inflation, with the consumer price index rising 7.8 per cent over the year to December.

SME wages grow

Meanwhile, Aussies working in small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) saw their wages grow 1.6 per cent in January, according to separate research released today by Employment Hero, which includes bonuses and allowances.

Year on year, wages grew 7.9 per cent to reach $35.96 per hour. Aussies working in construction and trade saw the biggest increase at 8.4 per cent annually, followed by workers in health care and community services, at 7.4 per cent.

Employment Hero founder and CEO Ben Thompson said this was the second month of consecutive growth, following stagnating wage growth in October and November.

“Despite harsh economic conditions, we’re still in a candidate-driven market with more job postings but fewer qualified candidates,” Thompson said.

“This could be driving up wages in key industries requiring specialised skill sets, such as Construction and Trade Services and Healthcare and Community Services.”

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