Thursday 19 September 2019

Wages in Ireland rising at post-crash high amid tight labour supply

(stock picture)
(stock picture)

Shawn Pogatchnik

Salaries in Ireland are growing at a post-crash high as the average weekly wage now exceeds €771, 3.5pc more than a year ago, new figures on the nation's labour costs show.

The quarterly report from the Central Statistics Office found that Ireland’s labour force - which has reached a record 2.3m - is now paid an average hourly wage of €23.81, 3.8pc more than a year ago and nearly €2 more than in 2012 when Ireland’s post-crash unemployment rate peaked above 15pc.

Now, with unemployment well below 5pc amid a tightening jobs market, the report has found that salaries among the most poorly paid workers are rising the fastest in percentage terms.

While average pay among public sector employees continues to outstrip their private-sector counterparts, the gap is narrowing.

Staff employed in the public sector rose by 1.8pc over the past 12 months to 408,100, and their average weekly salaries rose by 2pc to nearly €981. Educators enjoyed the highest average hourly wage of €40.75 and the shortest average work week of just 24.3 hours.

The ranks of An Garda Siochana, which grew by 2.1pc to 14,400, received the second-highest hourly wage among public workers, €31.64, and the highest weekly pay of €1,348 - but this reflects overtime pay and an average 42.6-hour work week.

Employment in the health service has grown by 2.6pc to 135,800 workers, who have seen their pay rise the most sharply in the public sector, up 3.8pc to an average weekly wage of €947.25.

In contrast, average weekly pay for private-sector workers rose by 3.9pc over the past year to nearly €710.

While average private-sector pay remains highest in the tech and financial sectors - €1,212 and €1,140 weekly, following gains of 3.3pc and 2.8pc respectively - wages are growing more rapidly in percentage terms in lower-paid sectors.

Average pay in accommodation and food services, where minimum-wage contracts are common, has risen over the past year by 4.4pc to €365.59 a week and €13.10 an hour. Ireland’s minimum hourly wage for adults currently stands at €9.80.

Weekly pay for administrative and support services jobs has increased by 11.4pc to €610.51, while work in the arts, entertainment, recreation and related services now pays €518.13, up 7.2pc.

Wednesday’s report found that just 1pc of positions nationwide went unfilled in the second quarter of 2019 versus 1.2pc a year ago. Reflecting skills shortages for high-end specialist jobs, vacancies remained highest at 2.1pc for professional, scientific and technical roles.

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