Wages rise 0.9 per cent in December quarter 2023

The Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.9 per cent in December quarter 2023, and 4.2 per cent for the year, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

All sector WPI, quarterly and annual movement (%), seasonally adjusted (a)

Quarterly (%)Annual (%)
Dec-041.13.7
Mar-051.13.9
Jun-050.94.1
Sep-051.04.2
Dec-050.94.0
Mar-061.14.1
Jun-061.04.2
Sep-060.94.0
Dec-061.14.2
Mar-071.04.0
Jun-071.04.0
Sep-071.14.2
Dec-071.04.0
Mar-080.94.0
Jun-081.24.3
Sep-081.04.2
Dec-081.04.3
Mar-090.94.2
Jun-090.73.7
Sep-090.53.1
Dec-090.82.9
Mar-101.03.0
Jun-100.83.1
Sep-101.13.6
Dec-101.03.9
Mar-110.93.9
Jun-110.73.8
Sep-110.93.7
Dec-110.93.6
Mar-121.03.6
Jun-120.93.8
Sep-120.83.7
Dec-120.73.4
Mar-130.73.1
Jun-130.62.8
Sep-130.62.6
Dec-130.72.6
Mar-140.82.7
Jun-140.52.6
Sep-140.62.6
Dec-140.62.5
Mar-150.62.3
Jun-150.52.3
Sep-150.62.3
Dec-150.52.2
Mar-160.52.1
Jun-160.52.1
Sep-160.41.9
Dec-160.51.9
Mar-170.61.9
Jun-170.51.9
Sep-170.52.0
Dec-170.62.1
Mar-180.52.0
Jun-180.62.1
Sep-180.62.3
Dec-180.52.3
Mar-190.52.3
Jun-190.62.3
Sep-190.52.2
Dec-190.52.2
Mar-200.52.2
Jun-200.21.8
Sep-200.11.4
Dec-200.51.3
Mar-210.71.5
Jun-210.51.8
Sep-210.52.2
Dec-210.72.4
Mar-220.72.4
Jun-220.92.7
Sep-220.93.1
Dec-220.83.3
Mar-230.93.6
Jun-231.03.7
Sep-231.34.1
Dec-230.94.2

a. See Interpretation of index numbers, Percentage change and rounding on the Methodology page.

Private sector wage growth in December quarter 2023 is comparable to December 2022 (also 0.9 per cent), while the public sector had the highest quarterly rise in 15 years (1.3 per cent).

Michelle Marquardt, ABS head of prices statistics, said: “For both the public and private sector, wages growth was driven by organisation-wide annual wage and salary reviews. Wage growth for December quarter 2023 saw a higher contribution from jobs covered by enterprise agreements than is typically recorded for a December quarter.

“Higher growth in the public sector was primarily due to newly implemented enterprise agreements for essential workers in the Health care and social assistance and Education and training industries following changes to state-based wages policies.”

December quarter annual wages growth, at 4.2 per cent, increased compared to the September quarter (4.1 per cent) and is the highest recorded annual growth since the March quarter 2009. While wages growth in the private sector eased slightly to 4.2 per cent for the year to December quarter 2023 (from 4.3 per cent in September quarter 2023), the public sector had the highest wage growth since March quarter 2010 at 4.3 per cent.

Annual wage growth by sector, seasonally adjusted (a)

Private (%)Public (%)
Dec-084.34.2
Mar-094.04.4
Jun-093.54.4
Sep-092.84.6
Dec-092.64.1
Mar-102.64.3
Jun-102.84.0
Sep-103.54.0
Dec-103.84.0
Mar-114.03.6
Jun-113.83.7
Sep-113.73.3
Dec-113.83.2
Mar-123.73.1
Jun-123.93.3
Sep-123.73.4
Dec-123.43.3
Mar-133.23.1
Jun-133.02.8
Sep-132.82.6
Dec-132.52.7
Mar-142.62.9
Jun-142.42.8
Sep-142.42.7
Dec-142.52.7
Mar-152.22.5
Jun-152.22.5
Sep-152.12.7
Dec-152.02.6
Mar-162.02.5
Jun-162.02.4
Sep-161.92.3
Dec-161.82.3
Mar-171.82.3
Jun-171.82.5
Sep-171.92.4
Dec-171.92.4
Mar-181.92.4
Jun-182.12.3
Sep-182.12.6
Dec-182.32.6
Mar-192.42.4
Jun-192.32.7
Sep-192.22.4
Dec-192.22.2
Mar-202.12.3
Jun-201.82.1
Sep-201.21.8
Dec-201.31.6
Mar-211.51.5
Jun-211.91.4
Sep-212.31.7
Dec-212.42.1
Mar-222.42.2
Jun-222.82.4
Sep-223.42.4
Dec-223.62.4
Mar-233.83.0
Jun-233.83.1
Sep-234.33.5
Dec-234.24.3

a. See Interpretation of index numbers, Percentage change and rounding on the Methodology page.

“The proportion of public sector jobs with a wage rise can vary due to the cyclical pattern of enterprise bargaining. In the December quarter 2023, 38 per cent of public sector jobs saw a wage rise, considerably higher than the 29 per cent from the same quarter in the previous year. The average hourly wage change for these jobs has lifted to 4.3 per cent, higher than 2.8 per cent at the same time last year and the highest recorded since September 2008.” Ms Marquardt said.

Quarterly wage dynamics in the public sector, original (a)

Average hourly wage change (%)Proportion of jobs (%)
Dec-132.536
Mar-142.339
Jun-142.013
Sep-142.532
Dec-142.533
Mar-152.132
Jun-152.117
Sep-152.441
Dec-152.620
Mar-162.226
Jun-162.211
Sep-162.535
Dec-162.525
Mar-172.426
Jun-172.514
Sep-172.534
Dec-172.726
Mar-182.225
Jun-182.218
Sep-182.341
Dec-182.232
Mar-192.120
Jun-192.625
Sep-192.330
Dec-192.122
Mar-202.424
Jun-202.218
Sep-201.823
Dec-201.814
Mar-212.023
Jun-212.010
Sep-212.134
Dec-212.234
Mar-222.127
Jun-222.417
Sep-222.330
Dec-222.829
Mar-233.038
Jun-233.015
Sep-233.334
Dec-234.338

a. Average hourly wage change only includes jobs recording a wage movement in the current quarter.

In original terms, quarterly wage growth across the industries was highest in the Education and training industry (1.7 per cent), and the lowest in the Accommodation and food services industry (0.3 per cent).

Annual wage growth was highest in the Health care and social assistance industry (5.5 per cent), the highest growth since the start of the series in September quarter 1998. At 3.2 per cent, the Finance and insurance services industry had the lowest annual growth in wages.

While not affecting the hourly earnings measured in the WPI, changes in employment levels and hours worked within the labour market can influence average earnings. These changes will be reflected in Average Weekly Earnings released Thursday, 22 February 2024.

/ABS Public Release. View in full here.