A quarter of Central Bank staff now make more than €100,000

Central Bank Governor Gabriel Makhlouf was paid more than €307,000 in 2022. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Jon Ihle

The number of staff at the Central Bank earning more than €100,000 nearly doubled last year from 302 to 566 as automatic pay rises pushed hundreds of employees over the threshold.

The pay rises came in a year of high inflation when the Central Bank repeatedly warned against salary hikes across the economy saying it could lead to a wage-price spiral.

Overall pay at the bank increased 5pc from just over €160m to €168.5m in 2022 while staff numbers fell by seven to 2,103, according to the bank’s annual report for 2022.

The proportion of employees on big money grew significantly, with more than a quarter on six-figure salaries by the end of the year compared with just one in seven in 2021.

The major shift in remuneration happened among those who were in the €90,000-€100,000 pay band in 2021.

Incremental pay hikes for Central Bank workers in the “bank professional” grades saw many tip over into a higher paying bracket.

Whereas 316 central bankers were in that pay band for 2021, just 110 were left there last year. There was a corresponding increase in the €100,000-€110,000 pay band last year, from just 54 to 281.

The numbers on high salaries above that level increased, too, as all pay bands benefited from three increases during the year under the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA).

Two more pay hikes are due in 2023 under the PSSA, as well, which will bring another group into the €100,000 club. One went through in March and another is scheduled for October.

The number of Central Bank employees in the highest pay band – above €190,000 – increased from 12 to 17 last year.

Governor Gabriel Makhlouf was awarded basic pay and allowances of €307,108, up from €293,257 the year before.

Former deputy governor Ed Sibley collected €129,323 for taking six months of mandatory garden leave after announcing his departure to take up a senior role at EY.

“Such periods, often also called “cooling off periods”, are necessary in ensuring that actual or perceived conflicts of interest, including post-employment conflicts of interest, are avoided or minimised following the resignation of a staff member,” the report said.

“In this case, the individual’s contract of employment provided that for any duration of garden leave, base salary would be payable.”