Findings in the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) report on wages and working conditions of non-Irish nationals in Ireland show that non-Irish nationals as a whole earned 22% less per hour than Irish nationals.

Eastern European workers earned, on average, 40% less than Irish workers in the period from 2011 to 2018. The study also shows migrant women are subject to a double wage penalty.

Key issues highlighted

  • The report shows a significant migrant wage gap exists in Ireland. In the period 2011–2018, non-Irish nationals earned, on average, 22% less per hour than Irish nationals – this means for every €1 an Irish worker earned, a non-Irish worker earned 78c.
  • Also highlighted is the fact that non-Irish nationals are generally more likely to be found in lower-quality jobs. For example, they are less likely to work in professional/managerial occupations (33% compared to 44% of Irish nationals).
  • Earnings differ considerably depending on the origin country.

    Part of the wage gap can be explained by differences in social and demographic characteristics (eg education level), the kinds of jobs they do and the firms they work for.

    However, even with these differences accounted for, eastern Europeans still earn 20.5% less than Irish nationals.

    Non-Irish women experience a double earnings penalty: for being female and for being a migrant.

    Non-Irish women earn 11% less than non-Irish men, who in turn earn 18% less than Irish men. This means non-Irish women earn 30% less than Irish men.

    The migrant wage gap narrowed over time, from 25.5% in the period from 2011 to 2013, to 18.7% in 2016 to 2018, in part because the skill level of the non-Irish workers increased and because they are working in higher-quality jobs.

    However, a significant 2.5 percentage point reduction in the wage gap over time remains even after we account for these changes in Irish and non-Irish.

    Finding solutions

    While Ireland has robust anti-discrimination legislation, specific measures to combat labour market discrimination may be necessary.

    The ESRI has indicated several possible changes that could help reduce the migrant wage gap, including greater trade union membership and effective English language training.

    Emphasis is also placed on prioritising migrant-integrated policy surrounding job quality and wages.

    Report co-author Dr James Laurence said: “Wages and working conditions are integral for migrants’ integration into Irish society. This study highlights how some non-Irish national groups are experiencing a wage penalty, in some cases a substantial one, and that this is persisting over time.

    “One potential driver of this finding may be that the educational qualifications of those concerned do not receive equal recognition by employers in Ireland.

    “Greater efforts may be needed to improve qualification recognition among employers, and raise awareness of the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) system.”

    The report used high-quality Revenue data on wages matched to Labour Force Survey data on jobs and workers to investigate the wage gap.

    To view the full report, click here.

    Read more

    Men hold the majority of senior positions in Agri-Food companies

    ‘An employee’s market’- the move in jobs since the jobs market reopened.