As the CEO, HR, or Payroll Manager of a company, keeping up to date with the latest trends in the Australian workforce is essential. With a constantly evolving job market, it’s crucial to have a finger on the pulse of the latest research and statistics. This blog will cover the most recent insights into employment trends, salaries, and job satisfaction in the Australian workforce, providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your business. 

According to the most recent employment statistics taken from 2021 Census, the Australian workforce had recovered from the impact of the pandemic, with a 3.6% increase in total employment in Australia since the survey began. The highest percentage of employed persons was in the health care and social assistance industries, followed by retail trade, hospitality, and education and training. However, when it comes to salaries, there is a significant gender pay gap, with men earning an average of 20.1% more than women. While this disparity has gradually decreased since 2016, it is still an area where improvements can be made. The next census to be held in August 2026 hopefully it will show better results for this matter.   


According to the 2021 Census data, 58.0% of the population aged 15 years and over reported being employed in the 2021 Census. This was an increase from 56.1% in 2016. The female employment to population ratio has increased over time, from 36.8% in 1971 to 58.3% in 2021. The male employment to population ratio has decreased slightly, from 79.8% in 1971 to 65.0% in 2021. 

The median weekly hours worked for employed Australians has been 38 hours since 2006. Before 2006 it was 40 to 41 hours. Historically, males worked more hours than females. In 2021, the median weekly working hours for males was 40 compared with 32 for females. 

The most common industries of employment in Australia in 2021 were Health Care and Social Assistance (14.4%), Retail Trade (10.2%), and Construction (9.2%). The most common occupations were Professionals (23.3%), Clerical and Administrative Workers (14.3%), and Technicians and Trades Workers (13.9%) . 


The average weekly earnings for full-time adult employees in Australia was $1,762.20 in May 2022, up by 3.2% from May 2021. The average weekly earnings for full-time adult female employees was $1,575.40, up by 3.5% from May 2021. The average weekly earnings for full-time adult male employees was $1,886.70, up by 3.0% from May 2021. 

The public sector had higher average weekly earnings than the private sector in May 2022. The average weekly earnings for full-time adult public sector employees was $2,013.30, up by 2.7% from May 2021. The average weekly earnings for full-time adult private sector employees was $1,711.50, up by 3.4% from May 2021. 

The total public sector cash wages and salaries in 2021-22 was $193,960.9 million, up by 5.7% from 2020-21. The Commonwealth government accounted for $43,941 million (22.7%), the state government accounted for $136,635 million (70.4%), and the local government accounted for $13,385 million (6.9%). 

Job satisfaction also plays an essential role in the state of the Australian workforce, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicating that employee engagement levels have dropped slightly since the pandemic hit. A recent survey found that only 47% of Australian workers felt engaged with their job during the pandemic, highlighting the importance of investing in company culture, employee wellness, and training opportunities. One way to increase employee satisfaction and engagement is by regularly offering professional development opportunities, which not only invests in your employees but also benefits your business in the long run. 

Job satisfaction 

According to a survey conducted by SEEK in June-July 2020, the average job satisfaction score for Australian workers was **7 out of 10** . The survey also found that the top three drivers of job satisfaction were work-life balance (25%), feeling valued (24%), and having a good relationship with colleagues (18%). 

The survey also revealed that the top three challenges faced by Australian workers were stress (31%), lack of career progression opportunities (25%), and low salary (24%). The survey also showed that the top three reasons for leaving a job were better pay elsewhere (37%), lack of career progression opportunities (35%), and poor work-life balance (28%).  

The rise of remote work has been another significant trend in the Australian workforce over the past year, with many employees working from home due to the pandemic. However, despite the benefits and flexibility that remote work can provide, studies have shown that it can also lead to burnout, isolation, and difficulties with work-life balance. As a result, it’s important to pay attention to employee needs and to address these problems, whether by providing additional support or encouragement to take breaks. 

Lastly, understanding the changing demographic of the Australian workforce is also vital, especially when it comes to hiring practices and retaining employees. More mature aged workers are staying in the workforce for longer, with the average retirement age of Australians increasing from 63.8 years to 64.3 years for men and from 64.2 years to 64.5 years for women. At the same time, migration has played a key role in shaping the Australian workforce. While the most common countries of origin for migrants are still the United Kingdom and New Zealand, there has been a significant increase in the number of migrants from China and India in recent years. 

The state of the Australian workforce is always changing, with new trends and statistics emerging every year. As a CEO, HR, or Payroll Manager, it’s essential to stay up to date with the latest research and insights to make informed decisions and help your company thrive. This blog has covered some of the most significant recent trends in employment, salaries, and job satisfaction, empowering you to make the best choices for your employees and your business. By investing in employee satisfaction, professional development, and flexibility, you can help to create a thriving, diverse, and dynamic workforce that will help you achieve your organisational goals. 

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