'Wages growth in Australia has peaked': report

New data reveals 0.7% quarterly growth in advertised salaries

'Wages growth in Australia has peaked': report

Advertised salaries in Australia grew by just 0.7% in the November to February quarter, signalling that wages growth in the country may have already peaked.

SEEK data revealed a 0.2% monthly growth in advertised salaries for February, the second consecutive month that it grew by this pace and slowed quarterly growth rate to 0.7%.

"If it continued at this pace for a full year, would see year-on-year growth at around three per cent, the slowest rate of growth recorded since before the pandemic," said Matt Cowgill, SEEK senior economist, in a statement.

"It looks increasingly clear that wages growth in Australia has peaked."

Source: SEEK Advertised Salary Index

Cowgill attributed the case to the cooling labour market where there are high numbers of job applicants.

SEEK's previous Employment Report revealed that job ads were down 2.5% in February, while applications per job ad went up 2.9% in January.

"Employers no longer have to compete quite as fiercely for talent as in 2022," Cowgill said.

Wages outpacing inflation

Despite peaking, however, advertised salaries in Australia continue to outpace inflation.

Advertised salaries went up 4.4% in the year to February 2024, much faster than the two-year low inflation rate of 4.1%, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Source: SEEK Advertised Salary Index

"For now, we're in a sweet spot where advertised salaries are growing faster than inflation, so workers are no longer going backwards, but they're seemingly not growing so fast that they threaten to push inflation back up," Cowgill said.

The findings come amid conflicting submissions from employers and unions on minimum wage growth. Ai Group is seeking a 2.8% minimum wage hike in 2024, while the Australian Council of Trade Unions is proposing five per cent.

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