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Are You On The Rich List?

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by Lisa Johnson

7 days ago

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Every year people2people produces a salary survey that provides a snap shot of median salaries by job role.  Employers love to receive this information because it allows them to benchmark the salaries of their teams against the market (i.e. find out if they are paying market rates).  This data can be harder to disseminate to job seekers, but there was a very interesting news article online as I write this, that will give you a very good idea of where YOU stand in terms of earnings against the rest of Australia.

First let’s talk about average vs median.  Because politicians and economists like to talk averages when they talk about earnings.  To work out the average, you add up all the figures in a column and then divide by the total number of lines / entries.  For example: 4000 + 6000 + 8000 + 12000 + 15000 = 45,000 ÷ 5 = 9,000.   The average in this example is $9,000.  The Median on the other hand is where you find the exact middle in a column of numbers.  In this case the number in the exact middle is $8,000. 

Median is useful when you want to be specific – for example where you want to say exactly half of all workers in Australia earn more than xx or less than xx.   Knowing the average is also useful, but it’s easy to exaggerate a situation when you use averages.  Fundamentally, when we talk about wages, if you use averages, the figures are skewed by those lucky souls who are earning millions of dollars per year and they don’t really reflect the real situation for the majority who don’t.

So seeing an article that is based on median earnings in Australia is a little sobering.  Apparently, you are in the top 10% of workers if you earn $109,668 (plus super) or more.  And if you are earning $65,577 + super per year (and you are a full time worker) you are actually earning more money than more than half of the full time workers in Australia.  According to the article, about 75% of people working in Australia earn less than $78,624 + super. 

Of course statistics only ever reflect the story that someone is trying to sell you.    If you are looking for work and would like to get an understanding of what the current market is paying for someone with your skills and experience, talk to one of our recruitment consultants.  They will be able to give you a snapshot of the market – how competitive it is, how many jobs are out there and what businesses are paying to attract the best talent. 

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