Policy in the Pub: An Analysis of Recent Wage Growth in Australia by Occupation and Qualification


From: Wednesday June 20, 2018, 5:30 pm

To: Wednesday June 20, 2018, 6:30 pm

An Analysis of Recent Wage Growth in Australia by Occupation and Qualification

This month’s talk is from Dr Janine Dixon, Senior Research Fellow, Centre of Policy Studies, Victoria University.


Dynamic historical and comparative static decomposition CGE simulations are a powerful tool for understanding structural change and its impacts. In this paper, we examine the impact on wages of three sets of structural drivers: macroeconomic factors, qualification supply, and technical change.

Over the study period of 2010 to 2017, average growth in real wages in Australia was weak. Growth in high-wage occupations was generally stronger than growth in low-wage occupations, resulting in a widening gap between the wages of the highest- and lowest-paid workers. Over the period, key results from our research indicate that:

  • Macroeconomic factors played a role in determining overall wage growth, but did not explain the disparity between wage growth at the occupational level;
  • Strong growth in the supply of qualifications at the level of bachelor degree level and above detracted from wage growth in the high-skill occupations; and
  • Skill-biased technical change in favour of the high-skill occupations led to relatively strong growth in the wages of high-skill occupations, an effect that dominated the results.

The implications reflect two views of the labour market: that technical change continues to put pressure on low-paid occupations, and also that the market for graduates has not yet reached saturation point, because although supply has been strong, wages for graduates have continued to grow more strongly than average.

About the speaker

Dr Janine Dixon is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS) at Victoria University, specialising in computable general equilibrium modelling. Janine is responsible for the Victoria University Employment Forecasting project, producing detailed forecasts of the Australian economy and labour market that are regularly updated to reflect changing economic conditions.

Janine is a member of the Economic Society of Australia’s National Economic Panel and a regular panellist on the Melbourne Economic Forum, where she has made modelling-based contributions on diverse topics including productivity, higher education policy, wage growth and company tax.

Prior to joining CoPS in 2007 Janine worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (1997-2002) where she was the manager of various surveys of the service industries in Australia.  Dr Dixon has a PhD from the University of Dublin, Trinity College (2006) and a Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours from Monash University (1997).

Event details 

The evening is being held 5.30pm Wednesday 20 June 2018 at the Kelvin Club 14-30 Melbourne Place, just off Russell St. There will be drinks and nibbles from 5pm for those who can get there a bit earlier. 



Wednesday 20 June 2018


5:30 pm


Kelvin Club 14-30 Melbourne Place, just off Russell Street


Bookings are now closed


Kelvin Club

14-30 Melbourne Place, Melbourne VIC 3000

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