Tuesday 16 October 2018

Revealed: The huge gap in how workers have fared financially since crash

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Anne-Marie Walsh and Paul Melia

Some workers are 42pc better off since the beginning of the recession, new research has found.

Figures compiled by the Irish Independent reveal a huge variation in how employees across the economy have fared financially since the economy went belly-up. While some staff have seen a significant rise in their pay of as much as 42pc, others suffered a massive 24pc drop in earnings.

The research also shows employees in the booming drug-making industry are the best paid in the country - with the average worker earning €64,545 a year. This compares with yearly pay of just €15,415 for those involved in building services, including property management, garden landscaping and cleaning.

The analysis, based on figures supplied by the Central Statistics Office on pay per sector from 2008, found that:

  • Staff in the aviation, agricultural equipment and vehicle leasing industry saw their annual pay soar by €14,000;
  • Those involved in making chemical products also saw pay rise by €12,000;
  • Bookmakers, National Lottery staff, furniture makers and computer programmers are among those who saw their earnings rise above 10pc.

Overall, the average worker was just €127 a year better off since 2008 by 2016, despite the recent economic upturn and reports of widespread pay rises.

But those involved in the lucrative renting and leasing sector saw their annual pay rise by €14,000, or 42pc, to €47,587 a year. This includes staff working in leasing air transport equipment, cars, trucks and agricultural equipment.

Next in line were those producing chemical products, including fertilisers, pesticides, paints and soap, whose wages rose from more than €51,000 to more than €63,000 a year.

In contrast, staff working in trade unions, employer groups and other professional organisations endured a fall of more than 24pc in their earnings. Construction workers' pay is almost 13pc below where it was in 2008 when the property bubble burst. Workers in industries including employment agencies, computer repairs, education, acting, and rail, taxi and ferry services have also taken a reduction in their pay.

The research also reveals staff in the booming drug-making industry are the best paid in the country while those in property management, garden landscaping and cleaning are the worst.

Earnings in the pharmaceutical sector are top of all the sectors - with the average worker getting €64,545 a year.

This compares with yearly pay of just €15,415 for those involved in building services, including property management, garden landscaping and cleaning. The earnings figures reflect pay rises but also the amount of hours worked and include overtime, allowances, and bonuses, as well as basic pay.

They are compiled from a Central Statistics Office database that gives the most detailed information on earnings available, although it does not distinguish between the roles held.

Ibec economist Fergal O'Brien said it was not a surprise workers in aviation rental and leasing were the big wage winners as the sector has been performing strongly and new players have entered the market.

"The numbers do reflect the overall economic performance. In construction for example, there has been a lot of restructuring but wages have not bounced back. Some sectors are still experiencing recovery much later and some were not significantly impacted."

Meanwhile, pay was stagnant up to 2016 as the average worker's earnings rose by less than 1pc from €36,792 to €36,919 in almost a decade. However, wages are on the rise again as average weekly earnings were up 2.5pc last year and the Central Bank predicts growth of more than 3pc this year and next.

Irish Independent

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