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Chapter 3: Base Salary

Base Salary is an employee’s full time equivalent annualised salary. It includes salary sacrifice amounts such as pre-tax employee superannuation contributions made via salary sacrifice arrangements. It excludes bonuses and other benefits.

The weighted Base Salary median increase from 2017 to 2018 was 2.0%, including 2.0% for non-SES employees and 3.8% for SES.

The median increase in Base Salary across all classifications was 2.6% from 2017 to 2018 (Table 3.1).

Graduate and APS 2 salaries increased by less than 1%, while other APS and EL classifications increased between 1.7% and 3.2% in 2018. Base Salary increases for non- SES classifications were consistent with Enterprise Agreement (EA) pay scales in their first two years of activity through this period.

SES median Base Salaries increased between 3.8% and 4.5% in 2018. The factors contributing to the increases in SES 1-3 Base Salaries include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Most SES are employed under individual workplace arrangements that are negotiated between the agency and the employee.
  • Agencies have different remuneration policy frameworks. For example, some agencies have increment structures for the SES, while others do not.
  • An apparent move to roll motor vehicle related allowances into bass salary for some employees. For instance, the number of SES Band 1 employees receiving motor vehicle allowance decreased from 1,354 in 2017 to 1,188 in 2018. This reconfiguration of salary packages is reflected in the base salary movement being higher than the movement in total remuneration package and total reward.
  • Movements between agencies at the SES 2 and 3 classifications. The data shows that 5.5% of SES 2 and 7.6% of SES 3 employees transferred at level between 2017 and 2018.
Table 3.1 Base Salary by classification, 2017 and 2018

 

 

P5

 

Q1

 

Median

 

%change

 

Q3

 

P95

2017

2018

2017

2018

2017

2018

 

2017

2018

2017

2018

Grad.

$58,211

$59,376

$60,013

$60,013

$62,698

$63,030

0.5%

$65,133

$66,436

$72,049

$69,331

APS 1

$40,318

$40,625

$44,512

$45,402

$48,194

$49,460

2.6%

$49,989

$50,989

$51,497

$52,256

APS 2

$51,313

$49,321

$53,353

$53,783

$56,220

$56,694

0.8%

$56,749

$57,884

$58,437

$59,606

APS 3

$57,096

$58,322

$59,933

$62,192

$61,970

$63,952

3.2%

$64,367

$65,655

$64,746

$66,041

APS 4

$64,368

$65,656

$67,958

$69,580

$71,317

$72,531

1.7%

$71,317

$72,744

$72,557

$74,008

APS 5

$71,316

$72,686

$74,024

$75,770

$76,561

$78,092

2.0%

$78,052

$79,311

$79,860

$80,987

APS 6

$80,468

$81,176

$86,438

$88,713

$89,449

$91,238

2.0%

$91,894

$93,732

$94,481

$95,809

EL 1

$102,728

$104,177

$108,833

$110,014

$111,633

$113,866

2.0%

$113,522

$114,624

$120,805

$121,860

EL 2

$124,041

$123,872

$134,892

$135,939

$138,195

$140,680

1.8%

$143,254

$144,912

$155,630

$158,743

SES 1

$166,365

$168,861

$179,255

$187,276

$189,353

$196,609

3.8%

$205,099

$212,948

$226,761

$233,094

SES 2

$214,929

$215,001

$237,786

$237,786

$245,348

$256,491

4.5%

$265,219

$272,647

$290,011

$298,762

SES 3

$302,111

$304,918

$316,813

$330,203

$336,876

$350,000

3.9%

$357,000

$378,905

$393,605

$425,066

ALL

$59,933

$61,774

$71,317

$72,744

$81,206

$83,347

2.6%

$106,574

$108,880

$140,591

$143,403

Note that as a smaller group of employees, percentage changes for SES classifications can be more volatile than those for non-SES classifications. It is therefore important to consider the differences in population size when comparing changes between SES and non-SES classifications.

Figure 3.1 presents a comparison of median Base Salary by classification in 2014 and 2018. These are nominal figures, not adjusted for inflation. While all classification levels have seen increases over the period, the pace of change has varied. The greatest percentage increases in median Base Salary was 15.9% at the SES 3 classification.

The smallest percentage increase in median Base Salary was 3.9% at the APS 2 classification level.

Figure 3.2 shows the Base Salary ranges by classification. Increases have been relatively consistent across percentiles for most classifications over the past two years.

Non-SES

Changes in the non-SES classifications generally reflect new or continuing enterprise agreements providing increases in Base Salaries of an average of 2% per annum over three years.

The range of Graduate Base Salaries decreased between 2017 and 2018, particularly at the 95th percentile. These changes reflect a return to pre-2017 Base Salary ranges for this classifiction. It was noted that agencies with relatively higher graduate pay scales took in the largest graduate cohorts during 2017. This was reflected in an increased range of Graduate Base Salaries in 2017. In 2018, graduate recruitment patterns have returned to normal and it is expected that this has resulted in these changes to the Graduate Base Salary ranges.

The drop in the 5th percentile of APS 2 Base Salaries between 2017 and 2018 may be explained by movement of employees into and out of the APS 2 classification. The data suggests that a number of new employees have commenced at the bottom of the APS 2 pay band while higher paid employees have moved on to other opportunities.

This has resulted in a lower 5th percentile Base Salary for this classification.

SES

There was very little change in the 5th percentile of SES Base Salaries between 2017 and 2018. The median Base Salary, however, increased by up to 4.1% for SES classifictions. At the SES 3 level, Q3 and 95th percentile Base Salaries increased by 6.1% and 8.0%, respectively. The increase in the 95th percentile Base Salary for SES 3 may be explained by the creation of new SES 3 positions in 2018. Remuneration for new positions may be set with regard to skills, expertise and other responsibilities of particular senior roles.

Last reviewed: 
18 July 2019