Private sector pay rising faster than public sector, but wages are still lower
Private sector workers' pay is rising faster than public servants' - but State workers still earn 35pc more.
New official figures reveal that private sector workers' earnings rose by 4.2pc in the 12 months to March of this year.
This outpaced 1.2pc growth in public sector pay in the same timeframe.
A private sector worker's average pay rose from €685 a week, or from €35,794 a year to €37,291.
In contrast, public sector workers' wages increased from €952 a week, or €49,721 a year to €50,320 a year - 35pc more.
KBC Bank economist Austin Hughes said the rate of growth in the two sectors has reversed since the start of last year.
He said public sector wages are subject to "very fixed terms" set out in the current pay deal with the Government, and there have not been any dramatic changes of late.
However, he said the private sector is reflecting change as the economy is doing better and the unemployment rate has plummeted to 4.6pc.
"It's a change in circumstance and private sector earnings reflect the temperature of the economy and it's getting hotter of late," he said.
"Pay has been very subdued for a very significant period of time so there is a catch up element. It's not a surprise."
He said the impact of staff shortages in some sectors can be seen in the pick up in pay.
The highest average weekly earnings of €1,257.47 a week or €65,614 a year were in the information and communication sector. The lowest average weekly earnings of €353, or around €18,400 a year, were in the accommodation and food service activities sector.
However, the impact of a 1.75pc pay rise due to public servants in September may affect trends, while another 2pc is due in October next year.