THE economic downturn has taken a big chunk out of the average worker's pay packet since 2008.
Average annual earnings across all sectors were €35,900 last year, a fall of close to €900 in just three years.
Earnings fell by 0.6pc last year and by 2.4pc over the previous three years, the Central Statistics Office said.
Bankers and those in insurance and other parts of the finance industry are the highest earners of 13 different sectors looked at by the CSO.
The average gross wage for bankers and insurance staff works out at almost €51,000 a year -- but it is still a fall of 4.5pc since 2008.
The lowest earners are in the catering industry, where the average gross pay is just short of €17,000.
Earnings in the accommodation and food services sector fell almost 7pc since 2008.
Of the 13 different employment sectors studied by the CSO, there was a fall in average earnings in all but the industry category.
Experts said this reflected pay levels in multinationals in the pharmaceutical areas.
The biggest drop in the past three years was in the arts and entertainment sector, where earnings fell by 10pc to €23,400.
In construction, there was a 9pc fall in the last three years with earnings now averaging €35,611.
High pay was also to be found in IT and in the public sector. The average gross earnings for jobs in information and communications was €49,768.
In public administration and defence, the average gross salary worked out at €47,060 last year.
Average earnings fell in all but five sectors last year -- wholesale and retail, transportation and storage, information and communication, administrative and support services and education.
Along with pay cuts, workers have also been hit with a range of income tax changes and the introduction of the universal social charge.
These changes were not included in the gross earnings figures put out by the CSO yesterday.
The universal social charge is up to 7pc for employees.
It rises to 10pc of gross salary for the self-employed.
And this charge cannot be offset against pension contributions.
There have also been changes to pay related social insurance (PRSI), which have hit workers hard.
Back in 2009, there was no PRSI due on earnings over €52,000, but that ceiling has been lifted.
Workers have also lost tax relief on trade union subscriptions, which is worth €70 a year, and relief for paying bin charges, which is worth €80 a year.
There have been a range of other taxes, charges and levies that are now imposed on after-tax income.