'€31,500 not enough to lure new recruits to Teagasc'
Teagasc has announced plans to hire 75 highly qualified staff members this year however starting salaries of just €31,500 is set to become a major stumbling block.
Although frontline staffing levels – researchers, advisors educators- have stabilised at the agriculture and food development authority over the last four years, Teagasc chiefs are concerned the authority’s salary situation is “out of line” with the private sector.
Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director said: “alongside all public sector employers the biggest difficulty we’re facing at the moment is starting salaries.”
“We don’t have quite the system the gardai or the teachers have, starting salaries are not competitive at the moment and that is something we are hoping to address particularly for someone who has completed a PhD and done some post doc research and is coming into the public sector for the first time,” he said.
“The starting salary is about €31,500 for someone with a PhD and possibly some post doc experience outside the private sector. It’s an anomaly due to the embargo and cap on pay and it is going to be unwound but we would just prefer if it was unwound sooner rather than later. At the very least there should be some allowance for the years they completed the PhD that would bring it up to scale”.
Speaking at the launch of Teagasc’s Annual Report and Financial Statements 2015, Dr Noel Cawley, Chairman, also highlighted the issue.
“In general the public sector at senior level in Teagasc, that salary situation is out of line with the private sector. It may not be a popular thing to say but if you look at the facts the public sector can’t compete and that is the current reality”.
The agriculture and food development authority have a staffing plan in place for 2015 which will bring permanent staff to 1,025. Around 200 contract staff also employed.