Salaries are a funny subject. For something that is so imperative to our lives, rarely do we discuss the ins and outs of our earnings, even with our nearest and dearest.
No matter what life stage we're at, most of us would probably like to earn more, although few would admit it. But with so little talk about pay, it can be hard to see how our salaries stack up to those around us, leaving us unsure of whether we're on a decent or even a 'normal' salary for that matter. Talking openly about salaries and money might not be the easiest feat and there can be a lot of shame around personal finances, but when we don’t talk about it, we often find ourselves missing out.
This year, the ABS released a report that found the median weekly earnings of female adults to be $1,781.60, with male adults coming in at $1,996.60 a week.
Glaring gender pay gap aside, 'adults' is a pretty large pool, and we're not so concerned with comparing our earnings with those at different life stages to us. But a new study by Instant Offices has shed some light on the earnings of everyday people by working out the average weekly pay of Aussies, divided by age group.
20 & Under
This is a hugely transformative time for most of us, and while some may find themselves able to lean on their parents, others may be working multiple part-time gigs to get through their student costs.
Therefore, it's no surprise that this age group showed to have the lowest earning potential, with the median salary of under 20s in Australia (across all races, genders and education levels) being $383.70 per week, adding up to $19,952 per year.
A rather wide age range fraught with career moves and job shifts. This is the time of life where we either question our careers or double down on the paths we've chosen, leading to either rapid growth in income or lower, entry-level pay.
Statistically, the average pay for these folks comes in at $1,127.60 per week, which works out to $58,635 per year.
The median salary for Australian workers in the 35-44-year-old age group is $1,503.70 per week or $78,192 per year.
Earnings for 45-54-year-olds are slightly higher at $1,544.20 per week, which is $80,298 per year — the highest average salary of all the age groups.
Australians aged 55+ can expect to earn a median of $1,373.40 per week which is $71,416 per year, slightly below the 45-54 age bracket as people tend to look at stepping back from the workforce around this time.
On top of the salary findings, the study looked at job satisfaction across all earners. After all, earning a good wage is an important part of overall worker satisfaction, but it’s not always the thing keeping employees in their jobs.
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic saw stability and job security become top priorities for many workers. Research also showed that 38% of respondents said they were happier to have their job now than they were before the pandemic, with 89% reporting they were either somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with their current job.
As for how they see their incomes? 49% agreed that they are somewhat well paid, while a decent amount (28%) said they were very well paid.
Of course, numerous other important variables will influence how much you earn throughout your career — from your industry, skillset, experience, and the size of your company to the state you live in. Also, depending on our personal circumstances and the state of the economy, our salaries can go through ups and downs, twists and turns.
Before we even enter the workforce, before we even decide what we want to do for a living, the narrative in our minds is still one that sees financial growth as a given. Something that is sadly not always the case — at least not always at the rate we'd hope. And while it's important to be realistic about your earning potential, one of the best things you can do for your salary growth is talk about it, plan for it, and ensure you're getting what you're owed.
Salaries can be such a personal matter, but it's always helpful to be able to contextualise money and have some vague idea of the trajectory of your income. Keep in mind that we're all in different boats to each other, all just trying to make it to 2022 in one piece. What's also worth preaching is that we are so much more than our outputs, and your salary is not indicative of your worth as a person.