Wage growth picks up, but still far from rising cost of living

Australian workers saw their base pay rise by an average of 0.7% in the March quarter and 2.4% over the past year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The annual wage increase follows a 5.1% increase in the cost of living, as measured by the consumer price index, over the same period.

Callam Pickering, Indeed’s Asia-Pacific economist, said that means Australian workers have indeed taken a big pay cut.

“After adjusting for inflation, Australian wages have collapsed over the past year,” Mr Pickering observed.

“We haven’t seen such weak real wage growth since the introduction of the GST.

Shortage of staff

Scott Bowerman isn’t surprised wages aren’t rising faster.

Scott Bowerman sits in a chair outside a kitchen, staring at the camera.
Scott Bowerman runs a labor hire business supplying hospitality workers around Wodonga in Victoria.(ABC News: Allison Jess)

He worked as a chef for 20 years but, after the pandemic, he started a labor hire business, Chef 4 Hire, in the Victorian regional town of Wodonga.

It was hit hard by understaffing during the pandemic shutdowns.

However, unlike many employers in the hospitality industry, Mr Bowerman said he no longer has difficulty finding workers.

“I’ve hired 20 employees, and three more this week, so it’s very busy,” he told The Business.

With the cost of living soaring and many employers complaining of staff shortages, Bowerman said most workers in the hospitality industry were still not well paid.

Post 13h ago13 hours agoWed May 18, 2022 at 01h36, update 1h1 hour agoWed May 18, 2022 at 1:50 p.m.

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