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Staff shortages beginning to nudge up pay packets for lowest-paid workers

Employees working for small businesses are starting to see their pay packets grow modestly as workers remain in short supply.

Sep 20, 2022, updated Sep 20, 2022
Australia's productivity has slowed. Photo: ABC

Australia's productivity has slowed. Photo: ABC

Wages in small and medium enterprises lifted 1.8 per cent in August, according to Employment Hero analysis, with the median hourly wage now sitting at $34.45.

This was an 8.6 per cent rise since the same time last year.

“We’re witnessing talent shortages affecting key areas and industries, which in turn is slowly lifting salary growth with median hourly rates increasing as businesses prioritise retaining and attracting talent,” Employment Hero chief executive officer Ben Thompson said.

Younger staff saw a larger pay bump than their more senior colleagues, the report revealed.

Employees between 18 and 64 years of age experienced an 8.9 per cent lift in wages compared to 7.6 per cent increase for staff over 65.

Thompson said higher wages could be used to entice older workers into the workforce.

“Given one of the areas discussed at the recent jobs and skills summit was getting older workers back into the workforce, this disparity may not encourage them to postpone retirement plans,” he said.

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The report, based on data collected from 120,000 small and medium-sized businesses, also showed staff numbers were still increasing but the rate of growth was easing.

Elsewhere, consumer confidence from ANZ and Roy Morgan is expected on Tuesday.

CommSec economist Ryan Felsman said the latest jobs data would likely be reflected in the scores.

Last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported the unemployment rate lifted by 3.5 per cent – driven by an uptick in the participation rate – with about 33,500 new positions added.

Consumer confidence fell last week, although the drop off was smaller than expected given the Reserve Bank hiked interest rates by 50 basis points in that period.

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