Saturday 7 March 2015

Workers who kept jobs after crash earning more than rest of Europe

Sarah Stack

Published 25/06/2014 | 02:30

Salaries here were high compared to the rest of the EU during the crash
Salaries here were high compared to the rest of the EU during the crash

IRELAND'S workforce suffered devastating job losses and pay cuts during the economic crisis, but figures reveal those still on the payroll were earning much more than their European counterparts.

A study of gross annual earnings for full-time employees in industry and services showed we were paid about €46,600 before tax and deductions.

Workers in Denmark and Switzerland were the only ones earning more in 2010 – both over €55,000 – while countries like Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovakia, Hungry and Portugal trailed at the bottom of the table, as low as €10,000.

But more recent official figures from our central statistics office put average weekly earnings at less than €700 in the first three months of the year, just under €36,000 a year, but still higher than our eurozone counterparts.

The largest percentage increase was recorded in the construction sector, where there was a 10pc rise from €639.35 to €704.41.

Elsewhere, Ireland's job vacancy remains stable at 0.7pc, well below the EU average of 1.6pc and eurozone figure of 1.7pc, according to figures published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

But the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) warned youth unemployment remains high and graduate pay low. "The lack of supply in the jobs market has created very much an employers' market," said USI president, Joe O'Connor.

"This is reflected in the reductions in different sectors, with the marginal drop-offs in the financial sector largely due to the strong availability of graduate jobs in that sector, and the very significant fall in average wages in architecture reflecting the overall collapse of employment in property and construction."

He said the high numbers participating in internship programmes had also been a factor in contributing to this downward pressure on wages.

Irish Independent

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