Salaries on the rise in public sector and IT
Earnings in the public sector have increased in the past 12 months, with significant pay rises seen among gardaí and staff in regional bodies.
Weekly salaries are also up in the private sector, with jobs in IT and communications seeing significant increases as they continue to benefit the most from the economic recovery.
Figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also show that job hunters are more likely to find employment in the IT sector.
The number of vacancies there rose by 2.8pc in the last year, while weekly IT earnings jumped by 16.6pc in the past five years.
However, the news is not so good for those working in the transport industry, with increases in the hours worked per week. It is also the industry with the lowest amount of job vacancies.
Hourly earnings across all sectors are up by an average of 1.5pc compared to this time last year - but the cost of employment has seen similar increases at 1.6pc. On average, staff in the public sector have had a small increase in their weekly wage of just 27c.
However, gardaí have seen a 2.8pc increase in earnings in the last year, while staff in regional bodies are 2.6pc better off, according to the CSO figures.
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has called for the introduction of a commission to monitor public pay increases.
ISME CEO Mark Fielding said an independent body could ensure that the process would be free of pre-election promises while verifying savings, costs and international comparisons.
"Public sector wage increases must not be used as election enticements, while inefficiencies are accepted as though they are inevitable," he said.
"We need political leaders with a backbone to step forward and instigate real change, then step aside so that we can have a world-class efficient public sector and an affordable public pay bill."
The average paid hours worked by staff in transport has increased by 4.2pc from 35.4 hours per week to 36.9 hours.
It comes as staff at Irish Rail and the Luas threaten to strike over pay. The transport and storage sectors recorded the largest decrease in average hourly labour costs, down 3.9pc from €24.93 to €23.97.
Fine Gael TD Andrew Doyle said that the CSO figures were mainly positive but conceded that more work needed to be done.
"We still have a long way to go, too many people are still out of work, but we are moving in the right direction."