Just 11.4% of minimum wage workers in Ireland at risk of poverty

New report finds Ireland has the highest percentage of highly educated minimum wage employees

The report says Ireland is the only country where women are not over-represented in the minimum wage category, with a 50:50 split in terms of gender

The report says Ireland is the only country where women are not over-represented in the minimum wage category, with a 50:50 split in terms of gender

 

There are fewer people on the minimum wage in Ireland at risk of poverty than in any of 14 countries surveyed for a new report by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

Entitled A Comparative Assessment of Minimum Wage Employment in Europe, the study found that just 11.4 per cent of minimum wage workers in Ireland are at risk of poverty because most of them live in high-income households such as students living at home with their parents or a home where one spouse earns the minimum wage and the other earns more than that.

In Ireland 20 per cent of minimum wage employees are non-Irish nationals. However, at 13 per cent Ireland also has one of the highest shares of non-nationals among all employees.

The report noted that Ireland has the second highest minimum wage in Europe and the seventh highest when adjusted for cost of living, new research suggests. Ireland has a minimum wage of €10.20.

About 10 per cent of the Irish workforce (9.6 per cent) are on the minimum wage, and are clustered in occupations that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Ireland has the highest educated workforce among all countries studied. Of all employees in Ireland, 56 per cent are educated to post-secondary or tertiary level. At 46 per cent, Ireland also has the highest percentage of highly educated minimum wage employees.

50:50 split

Ireland is the only country where women are not over-represented in the minimum wage category, with a 50:50 split in terms of gender. This compares to counties including Belgium, Germany, France, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal and the UK where between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of minimum wage employees are women.

Of those on the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP), 43 per cent are from the hospitality, food and retail sectors, who also account for half of all people on the minimum wage in Ireland.

Dr Paul Redmond, an author of the report, said: “Our research shows that minimum wage workers in Ireland may be particularly exposed to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic as they are more likely to work in sectors such as accommodation, food, wholesale and retail.”