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Monday 16 September 2019

Wage growth at post-crash high as private sector cuts gap

(stock picture)
(stock picture)

Shawn Pogatchnik

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

Yesterday's quarterly report from the Central Statistics Office show our 2.3 million-strong labour force is now paid an average hourly wage of €23.81. That is 3.8pc higher than a year ago and nearly €2 more than in 2012 when the bailout-era rate of unemployment peaked at 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 most quickly in percentage terms.

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

Staff numbers in the public sector rose by 1.8pc over the past 12 months to 408,100. Their average weekly wages rose by 2pc to nearly €981.

Educators enjoyed the highest average hourly wage of €40.75 and the shortest work week of just 24.3 hours, factoring in school holidays.

Officers of An Garda Síochána, whose ranks grew by 2.1pc to 14,400, on average receive the second-highest hourly wage among public workers - €31.64 - and the highest weekly pay of €1,348, including overtime earned in a typical 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 in the public sector, up 3.8pc to a weekly average of €947.

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

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

Average pay in accommodation and food services, where minimum-wage conditions 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 is €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.

The report found that just 1pc of positions went unfilled in the April-June quarter versus 1.2pc a year ago. Some 2.1pc of professional, scientific and technical roles remained vacant, down from 3.3pc.

Irish Independent

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