New data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO ) shows that average weekly earnings increased by 2.7 per cent up to the third quarter of this year.
This is the highest rate of wage growth since the recession began in 2008. The CSO “Earnings and Labour Costs Quarterly” report shows that private sector earnings were up 3.6 per cent and that there has been an increase in both average hours worked and hourly earnings. This reflects the trends of recent times in the CSO Quarterly National Household Survey, which shows that full-time work is increasing, while part-time work is decreasing.
This shows that many jobs which were part-time have now transitioned into full-time positions. Commenting on the figures, Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash, said: “I predicted this time last year that 2015 would be the year of the pay rise and the figures published today bear that out. The pay increases that we are seeing of an average of 2.7 per cent are moderate but needed, given that many workers have seen their pay packets eroded during the recession.
“This is a return to the normality of business and working life, where hard work and productivity are rewarded through pay rises. I am also very conscious of the need to maintain competitiveness and I think today’s figures show that we are very much on the right track of balancing competitiveness with wage growth.”
“As the Minister with responsibility for small and medium sized enterprises I am also pleased to see that the CSO data suggests that SMEs are rewarding their staff with the average wage increase for companies with fewer than 50 employees up 3.1 per cent on last year.”
Minister said that the outlook for 2016 is also bright due to the increase in the national minimum wage and reductions in income tax and the universal social charge ((USC ): “The national minimum wage will increase by 50 cent from January 1, following the acceptance of my recommendation to Cabinet as part of the Budget, ensuring that 124,000 people on the lowest pay in society will also see an increase in their pay packet,” Minister Nash said.
“Public sector workers too are in line for a boost as a result of the Haddington Road Agreement and the income tax and USC cuts also announced in the Budget will boost household incomes by an expected 0.5 per cent next year.”