ECONOMIC INSIGHTS

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printPdf.htm?id=publicsectorpay20170327_24032017

However, despite these cuts, Figure 4 shows

that average pay in the public sector in 2016

was €47,400, just 4.2% below the 2009 peak of

€49,500. A recent study by University College Cork

economists found that the pay of the bottom 25% of

income earners in the public sector actually rose by

7.4% 2 but fell by 4.9% for the top 25%.

These figures highlight the positive impact of

increments (automatic pay rises linked to years of

experience) and various reliefs and allowances on

public sector pay levels. Incomes have not fallen as

sharply as the headline reductions under the FEMPI

acts. The PSPC will have to judge calls for ‘pay

restoration’ in light of these facts.

Perhaps the most telling summary statistic is

that the overall size of the public sector pay bill is

expected to rise to €20.6 billion in 2017, a level last

seen in 2008. This is despite total employment in

the public sector currently at 368,100, down from a

427,300 peak in 2008. 3

Figure 4: Average annual earnings – public sector and total employment

55

€000s

50

45

40

35

30

25

20

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Public Sector Total Employment

Source: Central Statistics Office; Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

“Actual public sector pay levels have not been cut as sharply as the headline FEMPI

measures suggest”

10

2

See ‘An Analysis of Public and Private Sector Earnings in Ireland, 2008-2013’ by Justin Doran, Noirin McCarthy and Marie O’Connor, School of

Economics, University College Cork.

3

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform indicates there were 298,200 full-time equivalents in the public sector at the end of 2015, down

7% from 320,400 in 2008.

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