How much do Irish people earn? And what will Covid-19 do to our wages?

Smart Money: Pay was on the rise before the pandemic hit

Redundancies will be the biggest cause of income loss in the months ahead, but a loss in pay, bonuses, overtime and working hours will also hit incomes in many areas of the private sector. Photograph: iStock

Redundancies will be the biggest cause of income loss in the months ahead, but a loss in pay, bonuses, overtime and working hours will also hit incomes in many areas of the private sector. Photograph: iStock

Publications from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and the Revenue Commissioners give new information on what people are earning and where the biggest increases were before the pandemic hit. After years of stagnation after the last crisis, pay was finally on the rise – but now the jobs market has been turned upside down. Looking at an economy-wide level, the sharp rise in unemployment is leading to a significant fall in total earnings, even if Government supports are limiting this for now. Here are the key figures on what we earn – and what we know so far about the Covid-19 hit.

1. Average earnings

The latest CSO earnings data shows that average earnings last year were €40,283, up 3.6 per cent on the previous year. Provisional data for the first quarter of this year shows wages were continuing to rise until the pandemic hit. After a period of stagnation after the last recession, wage growth has been steady in recent years, totalling almost 12 per cent since 2014, with most of the gains in the later years. The headline data includes full- and part-time employees. Looking just at people in full-time employment, average earnings were just under €49,000. Average part-time earnings were just over €18,300. The growth in full-time earnings – 9.2 per cent since 2014 – has been slower than in part-time earnings, which have risen 14.8 per cent. Increased working hours for part-timers has contributed to this rise.

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