Wage growth rate in Irish economy falls slightly to 2.4%

Average weekly earnings stood at €742.19 in the first quarter of 2018, CSO figures show

Earnings increased across 12 of the 13 economic sectors assessed in the CSO survey. Photograph: iStock

Earnings increased across 12 of the 13 economic sectors assessed in the CSO survey. Photograph: iStock

 

The average Irish worker earned 2.4 per cent more in the first quarter of this year than in the same period last year, data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows.

Average weekly earnings were €742.19 in the first quarter, preliminary estimates show, also up from the last quarter in 2017 when that figure was €732.12. While positive, the growth rate has fallen from the last survey when wage growth accelerated to 2.5 per cent in the year to the fourth quarter of 2017. That was the fastest rate recorded since the recession.

As the economy returns to full employment pressures to increase wages are expected to emerge in some sectors.

While the average figure is up, there are a number of variations in earnings across sectors.

The highest average weekly earnings of €1,229.13 were in the financial, insurance and real-estate activities sector, while the lowest were in the accommodation and food service activities sector at €325.18.

Earnings increased across 12 of the 13 economic sectors assessed in the survey with the largest increase of 7.6 per cent in the information and communication sector in which earnings rose to €1,179.97. Administrative and support service activities was the only sector that reported a decrease, falling 1.1 per cent to €545.90.

Average earnings in the public sector got a boost in the period, partly on the back of wage restoration, to €915.86, up 3.8 per cent. Wages in the private sector increased by a smaller percentage, or 1.8 per cent, to €684.11.

Staff in An Garda Síochána achieved the highest average weekly earnings at €1,299.05. The defence sector, meanwhile, had the lowest average weekly earnings at €850.22.

Variations

Since the start of 2013 average weekly earnings have risen 7.1 per cent to €742.19 but, again, there are wide variations across sectors. For example, in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector earnings fell 0.2 per cent. In the construction sector, meanwhile, earnings went up by 17 per cent.

As weekly earnings got a boost, so to did average hourly earnings, up 2.7 per cent to €23.31. The highest average hourly rate was in the education sector at €35.53, while the lowest rate was in the accommodation and food services sector at €13.23.

Unlike in weekly earnings, average hourly earnings increased in all 13 sectors in the year to the first quarter. The largest rise in hourly earnings was in the information and communication sector, up 6.4 per cent to €32.46, while the smallest increase came in the administrative and support service activities sector, rising just 0.1 per cent to €17.96.

Businesses with between 50 and 250 employees recorded the highest hourly earnings increase in the last five year, up 3.4 per cent to €21.37. The smallest increase of 2.2 per cent went to businesses with less than 50 employees where average earnings stood at €19.10.

The average weekly paid hours decreased 0.6 per cent to 31.8 hours across economic sectors in the year to the first quarter. The education sector had the lowest average weekly paid hours at 23.6 while the industry sector had the highest at 37.9 hours.