The gender shift
In the past, women didn’t really count in the workforce. One hundred years ago the only occupation category with a majority of female workers was domestic work.
Today’s picture is very different. Women are earning more and occupying majorities in four of eight occupation classifications as Table 1 shows.
Table 5: Proportion of employees in each occupational classification, 2011 Census
|Occupation(i)||% Male||% Female||% Employed in this occupation|
|Clerical and Administrative Workers||24||76||15|
|Technicians and Trade Workers||85||15||14|
|Community and Personal Service Workers||31||69||10|
|Machinery Operators and Drivers||90||10||7|
(i) The ABS changed some occupational classifications between the 1991 and 2011 census. Source: 2011 Census
Note: Percentages in the third column may not add to 100% due to rounding.
Less manual labour
The Australian labour force has undergone major structural change. There’s been a shift away from manual work towards desk-based work. And it’s had a big impact, affecting the types of people doing the work—for example, women—the skills being valued and acquired, and the money being earned.
Life in the city
In a country as large as Australia, jobs tend to be where people and businesses are. Because of changes in the types of work we’re doing, the majority of workers are in capital cities.
Young people in regional areas are increasingly attracted to city jobs, causing a general decline in rural populations and an increase in the average age of rural populations.
One noted exception is in mining areas where populations have increased due to increased work.
A matter of industry, more or less
The AMP.NATSEM report outlines the industries paying more, and less. Mining tops the list with a median income of $2,134 per week while those paid least tend to work in agriculture, forestry and fishing for around $761 per week.
Table 2: Industry by income, full time workers 2011-12
($ per week)
($ per week)
($ per week)
|Electricity, gas, water and waste services||1,641||Wholesale trade||1,164|
|Finance and insurance services||1,466||Rental, hiring and real estate services||1,156|
|Professional, scientific and technical services||1,450||Arts and recreation services||1,052|
|Public administration and safety||1,410||Other services||971|
|Education and training||1,408||Administrative and support services||971|
|Information media and telecommunications||1,264||Retail trade||869|
|Transport, postal and warehousing||1,191||Accommodation and food services||865|
|Manufacturing||1,189||Agriculture, forestry and fishing||761|
|Health case and social assistance||1,177|
Source: ABS (2013d). Income is total personal gross weekly income from all sources.
The biggest earners—and the smallest
In general, professionals earn the most with gross median incomes of around $1,546 per week while labourers earn the lowest incomes at around $892 per week.
The highest paid are in medical professions—eg 88.3 per cent of anaesthetists earn over $2,000 per week.
On the other hand, lowest paid occupations include services workers with, 82.2 per cent of pharmacy sales assistants for example, earning less than $800 per week.
Table 3 Highest and lowest paid occupations, full time workers
|Rank||Highest paid occupations||>$2,000pw||Lowest paid occupation||>$2,000pw|
|1||Anaesthetists||88.3%||Pharmacy sales assistants||82.2%|
|4||Specialist physicians||81.4%||Fast food cooks||76.3%|
|6||Other medical practitioners||74.7%||Waiters||75.6%|
|7||CEOs, GMs and legislators||74.3%||Checkout operators/office cashiers||75.5%|
|8||Dental practitioners||71.9%||Food trades assistances||74.8%|
|9||Medical practitioners||69.4%||Laundry workers||74.6%|
Source: ABS Census 2011. Note: Since ABS Census data only provides 'ranged' data the highest and lowest paid occupations are indicated by the share of persons over or below and income threshold. The order of highest and lowest paid occupations may be different if actual incomes were available and average or median incomes were possible to calculate.
What our postcodes are saying
Incomes vary depending on job locations. Remote areas in Queensland and New South Wales for example, provide lower incomes compared to inner city areas. Again, mining is the exception with areas in Queensland—like Tieri—attracting people with incomes ranked second highest in Australia.
The postcode with the lowest income is Gwabegar in New South Wales. At the other end of the scale are Darling Point, Edgecliff and Point Piper in Sydney closely followed by Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove in Perth and Toorak in Melbourne.
What about you?
Read the latest AMP.NATSEM report to find out how your income ranks and what your postcode says about you.
Can you live the dream?