SYDNEY, AAP – More Australians are quitting their jobs for better-paid ones as they make the career moves they put on hold earlier in the pandemic.

Reserve Bank of Australia board members noted workers were encouraged by the strong labour market conditions after coronavirus lockdowns ended, the minutes of the central bank’s December 7 policy meeting show.

Professionals working in the private sector were most active and pushed employers to offer higher pay.

They were the only worker category to have wages growth of more than three per cent in the September quarter.

The higher pay did not extend across the whole private sector. Wages growth had only improved to about its pre-pandemic level, the RBA minutes noted released on Tuesday.

Public sector wages growth remained subdued.

However, board members were interested to see whether more workers followed the lead of professionals and changed jobs.

“The higher rates of voluntary job turnover in some sectors, especially in a tight labour market, could in time lead employers to offer higher wages to retain their workers,” the minutes said.

A lack of immigration during the pandemic is helping workers negotiate higher pay with employers, who have fewer job candidates.

Wages growth could lead to higher inflation, and ultimately an RBA rate rise.

The emergence of the coronavirus Omicron variant was a concern but board members did not expect it would derail Australia’s economic recovery.

The RBA at its December 7 meeting left the cash rate unchanged at a record low 0.1 per cent.