Outcome 2: Effectiveness indicators

Table 11. The national workplace relations system supports improved productivity outcomes
Performance measure Year to June
quarter 2015
Year to June
quarter 2016
Year to June
quarter 2017
Year to June
quarter 2018
Productivity growth as measured by output
per hour worked in the market sector
(annual, trend terms).
1.2% 1.5% 1.0% 0.7%
ABS wage price index (annual, seasonally
adjusted terms).
2.3% 2.1% 1.9% 2.1%

Labour productivity—as measured by gross value added per hour worked in the market sector—increased by 0.7 per cent (trend terms) in the year to the June quarter of 2018, down from 0.8 per cent growth in the year to the June quarter of 2017. Short-term measures of productivity are prone to volatility and cyclical effects, and should therefore be interpreted with caution. Data are also subject to revision by the ABS.

The ABS Wage Price Index measures wage growth in the Australian economy and is the preferred indicator of wage trends. The index increased by 2.1 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in the year to the June quarter of 2018 up from an increase of 1.9 per cent in the year to the June quarter of 2017.

Private sector wages grew by 2.0 per cent in the year to the June quarter of 2018, while wages in the public sector increased by 2.4 per cent in the same period. In that period annual wage growth by industry (original data) was highest in health care and social assistance (2.7 per cent) and education and training (2.5 per cent). Mining was the lowest (1.3 per cent).

Table 12. Incidence of industrial action (allowing for variations in the bargaining cycle)
Performance measure Year to June
quarter 2015
Year to June
quarter 2016
Year to June
quarter 2017
Year to June
quarter 2018
Working days lost per thousand employees. 7.3 9.5 12.7 9.9

In the year to the June quarter of 2018, 9.9 working days per thousand employees were lost due to industrial action. This was down from 12.7 working days in the year to the June quarter of 2017. In the year to the June quarter of 2018, 110,000 working days were lost as a result of industrial disputes. Of the reported industries, the coal mining industry accounted for the largest number of working days lost (58,200). In comparison, about 9,200 working days were lost in the education and training, health care and social assistance industries combined, and 20,200 working days were lost in the construction industry.

Table 13. Enterprise bargaining is used by employers and employees to negotiate pay and conditions
Performance measure June quarter 2015 June quarter 2016 June quarter 2017 June quarter 2018
Number of enterprise agreements under the
Fair Work Act 2009 that
have not passed their nominal expiry date.
16,269 agreements covering an estimated
2.4 million employees
14,439 agreements covering an estimated
2.2 million employees
14,492 agreements covering an estimated
1.9 million employees
12,832 agreements covering an estimated
2.0 million employees

The number of current enterprise agreements – that is, agreements not past their expiry date or terminated - was 12,832 covering around 2.0 million employees at 30 June 2018. This compares with 14,492 agreements covering around 1.9 million employees at 30 June 2017. Note that there were some minor revisions in the historical figures.

Note for all tables: These indicators are used to help understand the workplace relations system, noting significant drivers in broader aspects of the Australian economy. Monitoring the data for these indicators allows the department to be properly informed and provide good policy advice. However, movements in these indicators are influenced by many factors.