The archaeologist: 'Five years after graduating I can’t live independently'
Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Liza Kavanagh is an example of how having a qualification is no guarantee against low pay.
She has a master’s degree in archaeological science and works alongside others with PhD qualifications. Last year the 26-year-old worked for €9.75 an hour – not much more than the minimum wage. Under a new contract she earns €12.50 an hour.
“Archaeology was never very well paid, but I didn’t envisage that five years after graduating I’d be in a situation where I can’t afford to live independently,” she says.
Work is scarce, and pay and conditions have deteriorated. “You have people being paid the minimum wage and offered eight-week contracts, which turn into four-week contracts. Conditions on site can be tough . . . stuck in a field in the middle of nowhere, with a Portaloo that hasn’t been cleaned.”