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How does your salary compare (to the rest of Australia)

Financial Planning  |  18/04/2018  |   10 min read

Do you consider yourself middle class?

Almost 90% of Australians surveyed said they were an average household, somewhere in the suburban middle. While that speaks volumes about our national identity, the truth is a little more complicated. Australia may not place the same emphasis on class divide as other countries, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. And income remains one of the leading indicators. 

Household incomes

According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the median household income in 2015-16 was $84,000. Or about $1616 a week. Since households come in all shapes and sizes, those numbers are not particularly helpful. After all, it’s not easy comparing three professionals sharing a place in Bondi with a family of four in suburban Brisbane.

To help provide a more accurate measure of household income, the ABS also calculates an ‘equivalised disposable income’, which adjusts for household size. According to this revised figure, the median income is closer to $44,000 per year in disposable income for a single person, for a couple with no children it’s just north of $65,000.

What about individual salaries?

Household incomes are one measure of wealth, but they don’t tell the whole story. The ABS reports that the average annual income in 2017 is $81,484, and the median is $73,890. Those numbers are for full time workers. It’s worth noting that the median tends to provide a more accurate measure of the most common salary, since it’s less impacted by extremes on both ends of the spectrum, i.e. CEO bonuses.

These numbers will obviously vary according to industry and geography, as the chart below demonstrates.

Average full time earnings 2016


Average annual Wage



South Australia

Victoria $75,634
Queensland $75,936
New South Wales $80,132
Northern Territory $81,624
Western Australia $88,327
Australian Capital Territory $89,846


How do I compare to the neighbours?

Household income and wages can serve as a guide, but they still don’t show how you compare with your neighbours. That’s where Economist Matt Cowgill comes in. He’s done the hard work and created a visualisation tool that allows you to input your household income, dependents, and living situation to show where you stand in the pecking order.

Click here to see how you compare. 

To learn more about building long term wealth please speak with an Equip Financial Planner. You can find out more about our fees and services here. 

This information is provided for general information only. It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and should therefore not be taken as personal advice. You should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it and, if necessary, you should seek professional financial advice. Issued by Equipsuper Pty Ltd ABN 64 006 964 049 AFSL 246383.  MySuper Authorisation Numbers 33813823017672 and 33813823017518  (‘Equip’, ‘the Fund’ and ‘the Equip Rio Tinto Fund’).

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