The average Irish hourly wage is the second highest in the EU, behind only Denmark. Eurostat calculates that the average Irish hourly rate of pay is €20.20 per hour. While the statistics appear to point to a thriving economy, a closer look reveals some startling realities about how wealth is distributed in the Irish economy.
Eurostat’s data only examined the median income from firms with more than 10 employees. This automatically strips out much of the SME sector, while providing a disproportionate weight to large multinational firms which can afford to pay higher wages to their employees.
Low-wage earners are defined as those employees earning two-thirds or less of the national median gross hourly earnings. While in Denmark the percentage of low-wage earners stands at just 8.6pc, the Irish figure is 21.6pc - making it one of the countries with the highest proportions of low paid workers in the EU.
Employees in the UK earn an average of €14.80 per hour, although similarly to Ireland, the figure is likely to be inflated by high-paying firms in the City of London that are not necessarily reflective of the country as a whole. Britain also has one of the highest rates of low-wage earners, with 21.3pc of workers considered to be in this bracket.