Worker wages are trailing efficiency improvements but mainly in mining and agriculture, a study by Australia's independent productivity body has found.
Research by the Productivity Commission found workers in all other industries were also missing out on some of the shares of productivity improvements, but to a smaller extent.
Firms become more productive by making it possible for workers to do more with less, such as investing in technology or training.
Unions and progressive research groups have raised concerns workers have not been enjoying a fair share of productivity gains in the past decade and that too much of this income ends up on company balance sheets.
The deep dive by the commission found labour productivity was outpacing wage growth, but mainly in the mining and agriculture sectors due to high commodity prices.
These sectors employ about five per cent of Australians.
In the sectors employing the other 95 per cent of people, the gap between productivity growth and wages observed by the commission was "much smaller".
The commission estimates the share of income going to that 95 per cent of workers has declined by less than one percentage point since 1995.
But workers in those other industries were still missing out.
They would still be taking home about $3000 more, on average, if wages had kept pace with productivity improvements.
The commission said kickstarting productivity growth would be much more effective at driving wage growth and overall prosperity than bridging the wage-labour productivity gap.
If productivity growth had stayed at 1990s levels - 2.2 per cent - workers would be taking home an extra $25,000 a year by now.
Greg Jericho, an economist at the Australia Institute's Centre for Future Work which has produced research showing a declining share for worker income, agreed productivity growth was important.
"What is also important is who's benefiting from that productivity growth," Dr Jericho said.
If profits were not flowing through to higher worker incomes, the disconnect should be addressed via taxation, he said.
Australia, like many developed nations, has been battling sluggish productivity growth.
The rate of growth has averaged 1.1 per cent a year for the past decade - the slowest pace in 60 years.
Bureaucrats told a federal parliamentary hearing on Friday that a lack of competition was emerging as an important contributor to Australia's declining productivity.
Australia has highly concentrated markets by international standards, with many industries dominated by a few major players.
Jason McDonald, co-lead of Treasury's competition task force, said concentrated markets led to businesses charging customers more and a decline in economic dynamism.
"Together this is weighing on firms' incentives to adopt technologies, and is slowing down the reallocation of resources to more productive firms," he said.