Ireland’s gender pay gap has widened since 2019, PwC data shows

Average pay for men at 87pc of Irish firms is higher than that for women. Stock image

Sarah Collins

The largest firms here paid women 12.6pc less than men on average last year, analysis by consultants PwC shows, while bonus payments were 22.9pc lower.

The figure tallies with research by the Irish Independent, published last month, following Ireland’s first round of gender pay gap reports.

The PwC data means that women earn €0.87 per hour for every for every €1 per hour a man earns.

The 2022 gap is higher than the latest official data from 2019, when Ireland’s economy-wide gap was 11.3pc. But it is below the EU average of 13pc in 2020. Updated figures are due from Eurostat tomorrow.

A gender pay gap is not an indication of pay discrimination, which is illegal.

“This is all kind of what we expected,” said Doone O’Doherty, a partner at PwC Ireland People and Organisation. “The two main issues we saw in the gender reports were fewer women in senior, better-paid roles and that quite a lot of it turns on what sector you are in.”

The widest gender pay gaps were in the finance, banking, insurance, legal and construction sectors, PwC said, after analysing more than 500 company reports.

The lowest gaps were found in retail, health and charity organisations.

Men were paid more than women, on average, in 87pc of companies, while 82pc of firms disclosed a bonus gap in favour of males.

This reflects the representation of males in senior roles, which, in turn, is linked to higher bonus payments, PwC said.

Gender pay gap legislation currently applies only to firms with 250 staff or more. Companies with 150 staff will be required to disclose data from 2024, with smaller firms (50 or more staff) exempt until 2025.

Ms O’Doherty said it will take time to close gender pay gaps because they are a “sectoral and a broader societal issue”.

Similar reporting requirements in the UK have shown little change in five years, with the average pay gap (in median hourly terms) standing at 14.9pc in 2022.

Some large firms and public bodies in the UK also disclose pay gaps based on ethnicity and sexual orientation. Ms O’Doherty said it was “only a matter of time” before Irish companies do the same.

Large Irish firms will be required to compile data for the 2023 round of reports based on a snapshot date in June. The reports must be made public on the same date in December.