Log In..
 

 

How Much do Australians Earn?

Have you ever thought about how much the average Australian earns each year? Despite Treasurer Scott Morrison using the average figure of $84,600 a year to spruce his tax package, this is the average income for full-time workers and not the average for everyone. According to Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Databook, however, Australia is a wealthy country, having recently been ranked third in the world behind Iceland and Switzerland in terms of total wealth per adult at $402,603.

According to data from Treasury itself, the average Australian wage is just over $62,000 a year, with the median wage even lower at just over $55,000. Figures from the Grattan Institute are even lower, with the median tax-filers wage put at just under $45,000. While the $84,600 figure used by the Treasurer is not completely made up, it represents the average full-time wage and not the average or median wage for all Australians.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 68 percent of all workers are working full-time, with the average wage being $1628 a week when overtime and penalty rates are included. This number is dramatically reduced when part-time workers are included, and reduced even more when the median is used instead of the average. While the average simply divides the total income earned by the number of earners, the median deals with extreme cases of wealth by attempting to find the person in the middle of the distribution.

Personal wealth cannot be measured by income alone, however, with data released by Credit Suisse also influenced by real estate prices, equity market prices, and exchange rates just to name a few. The high price of property in Australia compared to global averages is one reason why it was listed so high by the investment bank. Other than the top three nations of Iceland, Switzerland and Australia, the top ten nations in terms of mean total wealth also included the United States, New Zealand, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

Despite high income and personal wealth levels compared to many other countries, not everyone in Australia is in the same boat. According to Oxfam Australia using figures from Credit Suisse, wealth inequality is on the rise with the top 1 percent of Australians now owning more than the bottom 70 percent combined. This is significant for a country that prides itself on equality, with the difference between the amount of wealth held by the top 1 percent and the bottom 50 percent now the greatest it's been at any time over the last two decades.

According to Helen Szoke, Oxfam Australia’s chief executive, we are witnessing “a broken economic system that is concentrating more wealth in the hands of the rich and powerful... Over the decade since the global financial crisis, the wealth of Australian billionaires has increased by almost 140% to a total of $115.4bn last year. Yet over the same time, the average wages of ordinary Australians have increased by just 36% and average household wealth grew by 12%... While everyday Australians are struggling more and more to get by, the wealthiest groups have grown richer and richer.”

 

Image source:  Frederic Muller/Shutterstock

 Australian Credit Licence 389811 & ACN 082 510 585