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“The CSO data  for 2018 gives further insights. It shows that 28.7 per cent of people earn less than €400 a week. The biggest group – 39.4 per cent – earn between €400 and €800 a week. And the remaining 31.9 per cent earn over €800, including 6.5 per cent of earners who make over €1,600 a week, before tax.”-Irish Times  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1uD

Worldbystorm    on Cedar Lounge Revolution

(The Median is very important.  The mean or average can be driven artificially upwards by very high earnings-PH)

So the first message from the figures is that there are a lot of people living on modest incomes. Of course many families have more than one income. And in the majority of cases, though not all, people work part-time because they choose to, not because they have to. But still, the average median income at under €600 a week is modest.

That’s not the whole story, the media is variable depending upon location with it slightly higher than €600 in Dublin and then well well below that at its lowest, in Donegal. Then there’s this:

The CSO data gives further insights. It shows that 28.7 per cent of people earn less than €400 a week. The biggest group – 39.4 per cent – earn between €400 and €800 a week. And the remaining 31.9 per cent earn over €800, including 6.5 per cent of earners who make over €1,600 a week, before tax.

That’s a huge percentage when one thinks about it on the less than €400 wage, close enough to a third of those working.

Another very useful insight:

And regionally, the cities appear to be recovering, but outside of them the situation can be very problematic.

https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-eaads/earningsanalysisusingadministrativedatasources2018/

Wage rates: Are you paid above or below the average?

  Cliff Taylor, Irish Times Thursday, November 21, 2019, 08:26

The latest earnings data from Central Statistics Office provide a fascinating insight into who earns what in Ireland, broken down by where people live, where they work, their age, and whether they are male or female.

Drawn from Revenue and CSO data, the latest release – Earnings Data from Administrative Data Sources – is the clearest insight we have into the breakdown of earnings in Ireland. It shows big variations between different sectors, different age groups and parts of the country. Here are the main details and what they mean.

1. The overall numbers

First, it is important to understand what the figures relate to. What is being measured here are 2018 earnings from people who work in paid employment (outside agriculture).

It includes those who work full-time – the majority, as we know from other data – as well as part-timers. Separate data show that around 20 per cent of the workforce is made up of part-timers.

Overall the data shows average earnings at €740.72 a week. This is using what is called the mean – what most of us understand as the average. This adds all the earnings together and divides them by the number of people involved.

Another way of calculating the average is using what is called the median. This is the half-way house – the earnings figure where the number of people who earn more is exactly the same as the number who earn less.

This gives a different result, mainly because it removes the impact on the data of a small number of people who earn an awful lot of money. The median weekly earnings are €592.60.

So the first message from the figures is that there are a lot of people living on modest incomes. Of course many families have more than one income. And in the majority of cases, though not all, people work part-time because they choose to, not because they have to. But still, the average median income at under €600 a week is modest.

The CSO data gives further insights. It shows that 28.7 per cent of people earn less than €400 a week. The biggest group – 39.4 per cent – earn between €400 and €800 a week. And the remaining 31.9 per cent earn over €800, including 6.5 per cent of earners who make over €1,600 a week, before tax.

Annual data gives another perspective. Here the basis is slightly different. This data includes people who work at least 50 weeks of the year – full-timers plus part-time employees who work throughout the year.

This shows mean average annual earnings of €44,380 and median average earnings of €36,095. So again we can see the impact of excluding the highest earners from the average calculation.

2 .The earnings gap by sector

The gap between the highest and lowest earnings sectors is striking. The highest paying is information and communications technology (ICT), including a number of the big US multinationals, where average weekly earnings (mean) are €1,244. This is followed by the traditionally high-earning finance sector, at €1,091 a week. At the far end of the scale are accommodation and food services – restaurants, cafes and hotels – where pay averages €347.64 a week; arts, entertainment and recreation at €462.54; and wholesale and retail at €562.70.

The lower paying sectors would have a higher prevalence of part-time work. Strikingly, more than two-thirds of people working in accommodation and food services take home less than €400 a week. with 44 per cent of those in wholesale and retail in the same category.

Also, more younger people are on lower wages, with the median wage for those under 24 less than €300 a week, suggesting many are working part-time. By the way, the highest earning age category are 40-49 year-olds, followed by 50 to 59 year-olds.

Measured by annual average (mean) earnings, ICT pays €70,264 and finance pays €61,061, while accommodation and food services is just €21,914 and wholesale and retail is €33,327. Again the annual figures include people employed for at least 50 weeks a year on a full-time or part-time basis.

The gap between the mean and median for each sector can appear a slightly nerdy point – though the larger gaps do indicate sectors where there are more bigger earners, compared to general earnings in the sector.

3. The earnings gap by gender

Women earn less than men across the board. The figures do not tell us how much of that is due to different working hours – separate employment data shows that around 30 per cent of women work part-time, while the figure for men is 10 per cent.

The mean weekly average income for men in 2018 was €847.35, while for women it was €635.12. Looking at the median – excluding the impact of the salaries of the highest earners – the average male weekly figure was €659.58, while for women it was €517.62.

Male weekly wages have gone up about 9.2 per cent over the past five years, while the figure for women is 8.6 per cent, so the gap has grown a bit.

The male/female gap is greater in the private sector than the public. In the private sector, females earn 80 per cent of the average, while in the public sector it is 92 per cent. It is impossible to infer from the figures how much of this is due to a greater prevalence of part-time work among women, or how much is due to more mean working at a more senior level.

One point worth noting is the low income levels for females in accommodation and foods services – at just over €300 a week on average. This is no doubt an influence on the private sector figures.

4. The earnings gap by county

The regional breakdown is striking. Not surprisingly average incomes are highest in Dublin – by a distance – at €947.41 a week. Interestingly, next in line are the Dublin commuter counties of Kildare ( €792.87), Wicklow (€764.18) and Meath (€761.37). Louth, at just under €671 a week, doesn’t seem to gain as much as the others from its proximity to the capital.

Previous studies have shown that people in these counties who commute to work in Dublin earn more on average than those who stay and work in their home county. There are exceptions, of course, for example the presence of the giant Intel campus in Kildare.

Cork comes in at €740.27 a week, Limerick at €707.82, and Galway at €701.69. The evidence shows the concentration of a lot of higher-paid activity on the east coast, even though the three other big cities have significant industries of their own.

At the lower end, way behind the richer parts of the country, are Donegal (€564.53), Monaghan ( €590.97) and Longford (€614.80). It would be interesting to have up-to-date cost-of-living data to look at the gap in real living standards. But the figures show the concentration of higher paid employment around Dublin and in the big cities.

5. Are the rich getting richer?

Or, more accurately, are those with highest incomes getting bigger increases? There isn’t a straightforward answer to this. We saw above that men have done slightly better than women over the past five years. That is one area where income inequality has grown a bit.

In terms of different income levels, the picture is more complicated and there have been a variety of trends since 2013, following the crash when most income levels fell. The graphic lets you look at this year by year, with the 10th decile during the least well-off and the 90th the highest income group.

Over the five years, lower earners – those between the 10th and 40th percentiles – and those in the top 10 per cent the 90th percentile – have done best. Over the past two years, the best off and those in the 30th percentile have had the highest income gains , though the gaps aren’t that big.

However, in terms of the regions, the figures are stark, with the gaps widening between urban and rural Ireland. Income in Dublin are up nearly 12 per cent since 2012, with Kildare second at 10.3 per cent and Wicklow doing well at 9.2 per cent.

Interestingly the other larger cities have also shown significant increases led by Cork (9.8 per cent), Galway (8.8 per cent) and Limerick (8.5 per cent). However some of the poorer more rural counties are lagging further behind, with incomes in Longford up 3.8 per cent and Kerry, Leitrim , Sligo and Offaly all below 6 per cent over the five years.

So in terms of regional policy, there is evidence that some parts of the country continue to lag significantly.

The figures used in this article are contained in this CSO earnings analysis document

© 2019 irishtimes.com

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