Understand the Causes of Ireland’s Gender Pay Gap & Working Women’s Income

  • Collectively working women earned less than working men (the “unadjusted gender pay gap”). On average in 2019, an Irish woman earned  €2879 every month, while the average man earned  3885.
  • Collectively working women earned 26% less than men or € 12,072 annually in 2019.

Can you unpick the causes versus the effects of Ireland’s gender gaps?

‘Money. It is not the root of all evil. It makes the world go ‘round. It is a source of power. It is the freedom to pursue our dreams. And — no secret here — we women have less of it than men do. “

Ellevest, Mind the Gap Guide

Ireland’s Gender Pay Gap Cause 1 => More Women On Lower Incomes

  • More women in precarious employment
  • More women working in lower paid industries
  • More women in lower pay grades
  • Slightly more women than men on the minimum wage. (Citizens’ Assembly, 2020)
  • The introduction of the minimum wage all but eliminate the gender pay gap for these positions.

Some sectors, such as accommodation and food services, have more people on lower pay. Sectors with more people on higher pay, such as information and communication, tend to have more men. Accommodation and food, for example, has a lot of lower earners (navy blue in the bar chart below). Information and communication, has a much large percentage of higher earners.

hows that 35.1% of all employments earned less than €400 per week. Jobs earning between €400 and €800 per week accounted for 37.5% of all employments. Just over a quarter (27.3%) of all employments earned more than €800 per week. In 2014, 4.7% of employments earned €1,600 or more per week.

In 2014, overall 4.7% of employees earned €1,600 or more per week. The Information and Technology industry does best, with 15.2% of those employed in IT earning €1,600+. There are less women employed in the IT sector.

CSO Weekly average earnings by industry sector 2011-2014 highlighting the % earning 1600+.  Information and communication: 15.2%,

Ireland’s Gender Pay Gap Cause 2 => Too Few Women in Management

As noted above there are more women at lower pay grades. Most senior positions are held by men with more women working in lower paid roles. Something that pulls up the average gender pay for men is the dominance of men in leadership positions.

via Helen Russell, ESRI (2020) at the Citizens’ Assembly of Ireland, Gender Pay Gap: Causes and Solutions
  • Less women in middle management
  • Even less women in the C-suite
  • Even less women CEOs
  • Few women on boards of directors

Large Businesses => Gender Imbalance in Executive Management

CSO infographic with note added on 1). sample details and 2). clarification that this data is for large businesses only. https://www.cso.ie/en/methods/surveybackgroundnotes/genderbalanceinbusinesssurvey/

Ireland’s Gender Pay Gap Myth A => It’s Not Education

Historical barriers to education were sited as contributing to Ireland’s gender pay gap. More than half of people aged 25-34 in Ireland are third level graduates. This is one of the few gender gaps where women seem to hold the upper hand. 59.9% of women and 52.5% of men are graduates.

Women represented more than half (53.8%) of all third-level graduates in Ireland in 2017 (CSO, 2017)

Ireland’s Gender Pay Gap Cause 3 => Gender Imbalance in STEM Graduates

As noted above, information and communication is one of the best paid sector. As we see below, studying STEM subjects continues to be dominated by men. This suggests two questions. 1). why is there such a difference in financial appreciation between sectors? and 2). how can we create gender inclusion within the various sectors so that there are, for example, more men in education and more women in engineering?

  • Working women with third-level education earn ~8% less per hour than their male peers 3 year after graduating.
  • Collectively third-level educated women aged 25- 64 earn 28% less per hour than their male peers.
  • By about 55 years old, collectively third-level educated women earn 40% less than their male peers in Ireland. (Chapman and Doris, 2019)
  • The pay gaps are largest amongst the highest, most educated earners. Amongst the highest earners, women earn substantially less than top paid men. (Chapman and Doris, 2019).

While higher education typically increases individual pay, it has failed to deliver economically for women graduates as a group.

Learn more about the Gender Pay Gap in Ireland ↓

What’s Next?