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On average, Australians earned $51,923 in Wages and salaries income in 2010-11. Table 1 shows the Australian Capital Territory with the highest average of $60,987, followed by Western Australia ($57,365) and the Northern Territory ($54,082). 2010-11 was the first time in recent years that New South Wales missed the 'top three'.
The lowest average Wages and salaries income levels were recorded by Tasmania ($43,521) and South Australia ($46,551).
Average Wages and salaries were higher in the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas than the rest of each state or territory. This held for all jurisdictions. The difference was most pronounced in New South Wales, with average Wages and salaries for Greater Sydney ($57,612) exceeding the Rest of NSW level ($46,514) by $11,098 for 2010-11. The gap narrowed for Tasmania with an average Wages and salaries income differential of just $3,871 between Greater Hobart and Rest of Tasmania.
The largest percentage of Australia's 10 million Wage and salary earners were found in New South Wales (31.3%), Victoria (24.7%), Queensland (20.1%) and Western Australia (10.8%), reflecting the larger populations in those states. Table 1 summarises the key findings for 2010-11.
Table 1. WAGE AND SALARY EARNERS SUMMARY, AUSTRALIA, 2010-11
Table 2. PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF EARNERS, SELECTED WAGES AND SALARIES INCOME RANGES, AUSTRALIA, 2010-11
At the higher end of the income range, 18.5% of Wage and salary earners in Australia received $78,000 and over. Of all jurisdictions, the Australian Capital Territory was the highest, with 28.6% of its Wage and salary earners reporting incomes of $78,000 and over - followed by Western Australia (23.9%) and the Northern Territory (21.1%). The Greater capital city regions tended to have a higher percentage of high income earners with the exception of Western Australia - where 24.0% of Wage and salary earners in the Rest of Western Australia reported incomes of $78,000 and over, compared with 23.8% for Greater Perth.AVERAGE ANNUAL GROWTH RATES, AUSTRALIA, 2005-06 TO 2010-11
Graph 1 and Table 3 show average annual growth rates for Wages and salaries income between 2005-06 to 2010-11. Of all jurisdictions, Western Australia recorded the highest average annual growth rate of 6.9%. Its component regions, Greater Perth (7.0%) and the Rest of WA (6.8%) were similarly prominent. Queensland was second ranked, recording an average annual growth rate of 5.5%. Its component regions, Greater Brisbane and the Rest of Queensland, grew by 5.5% and 5.6% respectively.
Of the States and Territories, New South Wales (4.4%) and Victoria (4.4%) recorded the lowest average annual growth rate over the period with Greater Sydney recording the lowest growth of all Greater capital city regions (4.2%), followed by Greater Melbourne (4.3%).
Graph 1. AVERAGE ANNUAL GROWTH RATES, WAGES AND SALARIES, 2005-06 TO 2010-11
Of all Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) regions in Australia for 2010-11, Mosman in Greater Sydney recorded the highest annual average Wages and salaries income of $123,235. This was followed by Hunters Hill-Woolwich and Double Bay-Bellevue Hill, recording averages of $106,695 and $100,443 respectively. Table 4 shows that these three SA2 regions were also prominent in terms of average annual total income from all sources (including Investment and Own unincorporated business income). In fact Mosman, Double Bay-Bellevue Hill and Hunters Hill-Woolwich were ranked second, third and fourth nationally, for average annual total income from all sources in 2010-11.
As table 4 shows, Woollahra - 5 km east of Sydney's CBD - made both listings, with average annual Wages and salary income at $99,527 and average annual total income (all sources) at $124,644. According to the 2011 Population Census, Legal and accounting services, Auxiliary finance and investment services and Depository financial intermediation were the main industry groups employing the residents of Woollahra.
The beach-side region of Cottesloe in western Perth also made both top ten listings. The 2011 Population Census found that the lead industry groups employing Cottesloe residents in 2011 were: Architectural, engineering and technical services; Hospitals; and Legal and accounting services. For more background information, see the ABS Basic Community Profiles, Quickstats and The National Regional Profile, 2007-2011.
From another perspective, Toorak in Greater Melbourne and Dover Heights in eastern Sydney had high average total income from all sources, while not featuring in the Wages and salaries income top ten. This shows the greater prominence of other sources of income for these two regions.
Table 4. AVERAGE WAGES AND SALARIES AND AVERAGE TOTAL INCOME, TOP TEN REGIONS IN AUSTRALIA, 2010-11
Map 1 shows considerable variation in average annual growth rates for Wages and salaries income in SA2 regions across Australia, from 2005-06 to 2010-11. The majority of regions with growth rates over 9% were located in the Northern Territory, for example Daly (up 11.2%), Sandover-Plenty (9.0%), Petermann-Simpson (9.0%) and Tanami (9.0%). These SA2 regions tended to have 'high growth' from a low average income base; none recorded an average annual Wages and salaries income above the Australia level ($51,923).
Map 1. GROWTH RATES IN AVERAGE ANNUAL WAGES AND SALARIES INCOME, STATISTICAL AREA LEVEL 2 REGIONS, 2005-06 TO 2010-11
Outside of the Territory, the Northern Peninsula SA2 in Queensland and Nedlands-Dalkeith-Crawley in Western Australia were also prominent, recording growth rates of 10.1% and 9.6% respectively.
Situated on the coastal plain of Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Glass House Mountains was the only SA2 in Australia to record a negative average annual growth rate (of -3.7%) in Wages and salaries income, over 2005-06 to 2010-11. This region services the Glass House Mountains National Park. It also holds cultural significance for the Indigenous people of south-east Queensland. The 2011 Population Census found that the Glass House Mountains main employing industry groups were Fruit and tree nut growing, School education, and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services. Fluctuating demand in ecotourism - coupled with a growing segment of its population nearing retirement age - may have influenced the recent decline in average Wages and salaries income.
As noted for some Northern Territory regions, high growth rates do not necessarily equate with high Wages and salaries incomes, nor do low growth rates and low incomes always coincide. It can be useful to interrelate these measures, to put the regional income picture into sharper perspective. Table 5 groups the regions accordingly: whether their average annual incomes in 2010-11 fell in the top or bottom 20% of all SA2s; and whether their average growth rate in average Wages and salaries (over 2005-06 to 2010-11) was above or below the Australian level of 4.9%.
Table 5. SELECTED SA2 REGIONS BY HIGH/LOW AVERAGE ANNUAL WAGES AND SALARIES INCOME AND GROWTH RATE
The high income and high growth group included Gordon-Killara on Sydney's upper north-shore, 15 km from the CBD. Gordon-Killara recorded an average Wages and salaries income of $94,598 in 2010-11, accompanied by an average annual growth rate of 5.8%.
The 2011 Population Census shows Gordon-Killara to have a primarily Australian-born population of slightly older median age (41 years compared with 37 for Australia). Moreover, 50.9% of its employed worked 40 hours or more per week, often in highly skilled occupations. Professionals and Managers comprised 61.3% of occupational employment for Gordon-Killara's working residents in 2011. The main employing industries for Gordon-Killara's residents were Professional, scientific and technical services (17.8% of total employment), Health care and social assistance (12.5%) and Financial and insurance services (11.2%).
The high income and low growth rate group included the historic inner Sydney region of Paddington-Moore Park. This region recorded an average Wages and salaries income of $90,955 in 2010-11, along with an average annual growth rate of 4.3%. Residents of Paddington-Moore Park tended to be younger (median age of 35 years). According to the 2011 Population Census, they worked longer hours per week - 62.3% worked 40 hours or more - often in highly skilled and highly paid occupations. For example, 65.9% were Professionals and Managers. Major employing industry groups for Paddington-Moore Park residents included Legal and accounting services (7.0%), Auxiliary finance and investment services (6.0%) and Depository financial intermediation (3.9%).
The low income and high growth rate combination is exemplified by Victoria River, a region to the immediate west of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Average annual wages and salaries income for this region was $31,430 in 2010-11 while the average annual growth rate over 2005-06 to 2010-11 was 7.0% According to the 2011 Population Census, Victoria River has a young population (with a median age of 24 years) and 63.4% of its usual residents are Aboriginal. Almost one half (48.9%) of its employed population works in the Sheep, beef cattle and grain farming and Local Government administration industry groups.
Two SA2 regions in the low income and low growth rate group were Robinvale (Victoria) and Kangaroo Island (SA). Robinvale recorded average Wages and salaries income of $33,095 in 2010-11 and a corresponding average annual growth rate of 4.2%. Kangaroo Island recorded a similarly low average income of $33,592 and the same growth rate (4.2%). Information from the 2011 Population Census suggests that these two regions are otherwise quite different. The median age of Robinvale's resident population matches that of Australia - 37 years - while Kangaroo Island's population is considerably older (with a median age of 46 years). For the former, over one third of its employed residents worked in Fruit and tree nut growing and Other food product manufacturing, while for the latter, the main employing industry groups were Sheep, beef cattle and grain farming and Accommodation (related to tourism activity).
Map 2 shows the geographical distribution of all SA2s in Australia according to the four income/growth categories in Table 5. It is apparent that broader regions with high average incomes and high growth rates included SA2s in the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Brisbane and Perth and the more remote mining areas in Western Australia and Queensland.
Map 2. AVERAGE WAGES AND SALARIES INCOME FOR 2010-11 AND GROWTH RATES, STATISTICAL AREA LEVEL 2 REGIONS, 2005-06 TO 2010-11
WAGE AND SALARY EARNERS BY AGE
An ageing workforce and the need for long-term skills continuity - along with limited employment opportunities for younger people in some regions - have all been foci of community interest and government policy in recent times. See ABS Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans. (Endnote 1). The Productivity Commission has recently put forward the idea of pension eligibility rising to 70 years of age. See An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future. Reflecting such issues, this section summarises those regions with a higher proportion of older and younger Wage and salary earners.
Regions with a high proportion of Wage and salary earners aged 55 and over
In 2010-11, the five SA2 regions in Australia with the highest percentage of Wage and salary earners aged 55 years and over, were all located outside of the capital city regions. Queenscliff - on the Great Ocean Road in south-western Victoria - had the highest proportion at 30.7%, compared with 16.2% nationally. The Queenscliff result was not surprising given its older demographic profile; 49.8% of its population was aged 55 years and over, compared with just 25.6% nationally, according to the 2011 Population Census.
Queenscliff is within close proximity to the major city of Geelong, offering residents a rural lifestyle along with relatively close access to city services and employment. The 2011 Population Census found that the main employing industries for Queenscliff's older Wage and salary earners were Education and training (14.4%), Health care and assistance (13.9%) and Professional, scientific and technical services (10.6%).
Other prominent regions (also in Victoria) were Paynesville, Portarlington and Beechworth, all with over 29% of their Wage and salary earners aged 55 years and over. See table 6, below.
Caloundra Hinterland, is located inland from the Sunshine Coast, in south-eastern Queensland. In 2010-11, it had 839 Wage and salary earners aged 55 years and over, comprising 29.4% of the region's total Wage and salary earner population. This result is perhaps to be expected; 42.5% of its population was found be 55 years and over at the 2011 Population Census.
According to the 2011 Population Census, the main employing industries for Caloundra Hinterland's older workers were Health care and social assistance (14.0%), Education and training (11.3%) and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (10.6%).
Interestingly, all top five SA2s recorded Average Wages and salaries incomes considerably lower than the corresponding national average for 55 year olds and over - $51,466. For example, Queenscliff had an average of $45,676 in 2010-11, while Portarlington recorded just $35,651.
Table 6. WAGE AND SALARY EARNERS AGED 55 YEARS AND OVER, FIVE HIGHEST PROPORTION SA2s, 2010-11
Regions with a high proportion of Wage and salary earners aged 15-34 years
In 2010-11, the top five regions - in terms of having the highest proportion of Wage and salary earners aged 15-34 years - were located in the inner city areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. According to the 2011 Population Census, these regions typically contained high numbers of students, high proportions of renters and high proportions of single or group households.
In 2010-11, Sydney-Haymarket-The Rocks (a 4.3 square km region within Sydney's CBD) had the highest percentage of resident Wage and salary earners aged 15-34 years, at 84.6%. This was more than double the corresponding level for Australia overall (41.2%).
According to the 2011 Population Census, 62.2% of the total resident population of Sydney-Haymarket-The Rocks was aged 15-34 years. This region had a median age of 29 years, much lower than the national median (37 years). Country of birth for its residents ranged from Australia (19.1%) and China (11.9%) to Indonesia (8.5%), Thailand (8.0%) and Korea (5.5%). Over 41% of the residents of Sydney-Haymarket-The Rocks were attending University (or similar tertiary) institutions, or Technical or Further Education institutions. The main industries employing this region's younger Wage and salary earners were Accommodation and food services (27.6%), Professional, scientific and technical services (13,9%), Financial and insurance services (12.2%) and Retail trade (10.4%).
As table 7 shows, the five regions with the highest proportion of Wage and salary earners aged 15-34 years had relatively low average annual Wages and salaries incomes - ranging from $21,855 for Sydney-Haymarket-The Rocks to $36,397 for Melbourne. The equivalent national average for this age group was much higher at $40,055. In part this reflects the higher incidence of part-time work within these inner city SA2s as young people mix their work with study commitments.
Table 7. WAGE AND SALARY EARNERS AGED 15-34 YEARS, HIGHEST PROPORTION SA2s, 2010-11
This section examines Wage and salary earners in regions by sex, highlighting the five regions with the highest proportion of female wage and salary earners, and the five regions with the highest proportion of male wage and salary earners.
Regions with a high proportion of female Wage and salary earners
Table 8 presents the top five regions in Australia with the highest percentage of female Wage and salary earners.
Taroona-Bonnet Hill is a mainly residential area close to the Hobart CBD which includes a popular, scenic, cycling route and the historic Truganini reserve nearby. In 2010-11, Taroona-Bonnet Hill recorded the highest proportion of female Wage and salary earners - 53.3% compared with 48.2% nationally
Average Wages and salaries income for females in Taroona-Bonnet Hill was $40,641, slightly above the corresponding female average for Australia ($40,312).
According to the 2011 Population Census, 55.8% of females (aged 15 years and over) in Taroona-Bonnet Hill were employed, compared with 53.0% for Australia. The main industries of employment for females resident in Taroona-Bonnet Hill were Education and training (22.4%), Health care and social assistance (22.1%) and Public administration and safety (14.2%).
Also prominent was Elwood, located 8km south of the Melbourne CBD and renowned for its beaches and leafy surrounds. In 2010-11, it had 4,449 female Wage and salary earners, comprising 53.1% of all Wage and salary earners (persons) in that region. The average Wages and salaries income for Elwood's resident females was $57,610, placing this region in the top 2% (of all Australia's SA2s) for highest average female income.
Based on the 2011 Population Census figures, 71.5% of females aged 15 years and over in Elwood were employed, much higher than the corresponding national level (53.0%). In Elwood, the main industries of employment for females were Health care and social assistance (15.6%), Professional, scientific and technical services (14.5%) and Education and training (10.9%).
Table 8. SA2 REGIONS WITH THE HIGHEST PROPORTION OF FEMALE WAGE AND SALARY EARNERS, Australia, 2010-11
Regions with a high proportion of male Wage and salary earners
Of all SA2 regions in Australia, Welshpool (located in Perth's inner south-east) recorded the highest proportion of male Wage and salary earners (72.4%). However this percentage came from a relatively low numeric base. Welshpool had just 118 resident males who worked as Wage and salary earners in 2010-11. Nonetheless this small contingent recorded an Average Wage and salary income of $69,318, exceeding the corresponding level for all males in Australia ($62,699). Census information suggests that Welshpool is primarily an industrial zone, with relatively few private dwellings and accommodation facilities; hence its low resident population.
The region of Auburn is part of Greater Sydney, home to Sydney's Olympic Park and culturally diverse - with Chinese, Turkish, Lebanese, Indian, Afghani and Australian-born persons. In 2010-11, 61.7% (or 7,781) of Auburn's Wage and salary earners were male - making it fifth ranked (in Australia) for this characteristic. This prominence was counterbalanced by an average income of just $39,144 for its male Wages and salary earners - one of the lowest regional averages recorded in Australia in 2010-11.
According to the 2011 Population Census, 68.1% of Auburn's overall population was born overseas and just 13.5% spoke English exclusively, at home. The main employing industries for Auburn's male residents included Manufacturing (13.3%), Accommodation and food services (11.7%), Construction (11.5%) and Transport, postal and warehousing (9.6%).
Other prominent regions (with a high percentage of male Wage and salary earners) in 2010-11 were Lakemba-Wiley Park (NSW), Eagle Farm-Pinkenba (Qld) and Malaga (WA).
Table 9. SA2 REGIONS WITH THE HIGHEST PROPORTION OF MALE WAGE AND SALARY EARNERS, Australia, 2010-11
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