Women more likely to be earning minimum wage than men

CSO figures will feed in debate about gender pay gap, which has widened since crash


Women are significantly more likely to be earning the minimum wage than men, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

They show that 137,200 employees, nearly 8 per cent of the State’s workforce, were earning the statutory minimum wage of €9.55 per hour at the end of last year.

Of these 55.3 per cent (75,900) were female while 44.7 per cent (61,300) were male. This compares to an overall even split of all employees in the State of 50 per cent each for males and females, the agency said.

The finding will feed into wider concern about pay differentials between men and women which have widened here since the financial crash.

The CSO figures suggested the majority of women on the minimum wage were working part time and were employed in the services sector.

A recent study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) found that a high percentage of these women said they had taken up part-time work because it enabled them to look after children or other people.

The CSO figures showed that 26 per cent of non-permanent workers, both male and female, were on the minimum wage compared with 5.7 per cent of permanent workers.

Half of them were also in the 15-24 (youths) age group even though this cohort represent only 12 per cent of the workforce.

The services sector, which includes the restaurant and bar sector, accounted for more than four out of five (83.5 per cent) of all employees who reported earning the national minimum wage or less, which continued a similar trend from earlier periods.

The reasearch also showed that 7 per cent of Irish nationals earned the national minimum wage the corresponding figure for non-Irish nationals was 9.6 per cent.

Commenting on the report, CSO statistician Jim Dalton said: “Questions on the national minimum wage status of employees have been included in the Labour Force Survey since Q2 2016.”

“ Today’s report provides estimates based on the most recently available data up to Q4 2018,” he said.