Gender pay gap in Ireland remains stubbornly and unacceptably high

Senator Marie Sherlock
20 November 2022
  • Women workers earn almost a quarter less compared to their male counterparts.
  • Vital the State transposes the full spirit of the EU’s adequate minimum wage directive later next year plus the EU’s pay transparency directive.

Labour spokesperson on employment affairs, Marie Sherlock has today said it is unacceptable that the gender pay gap in Ireland remains so stubbornly high (22.2%) despite a major increase in full-time female employment during the pandemic.

Speaking in advance of Equal Pay Day 2022, Senator Sherlock said:

“These numbers simply don’t add up. The gender pay gap in Ireland remains a staggering 22.2% according to data extrapolated from CSO administrative earnings data. One of the very rare positives we took from the pandemic was the very significant growth of women in full time work. Between Q1 2020 and Q1 2022, female full-time employment grew by 9.5% according to data extrapolated from the CSO’s Labour force survey. This was more than three times the rate of growth for male full-time employment and should have done more to close the gap.

“While the pandemic and all the caring issues that arose with the multiple lockdowns represented a very serious setback to so many women’s careers, to their productivity and workplace esteem, the pandemic also afforded workplace opportunities to other women. In particular, the flexible work arrangements that were forced into place because of the pandemic meant that many women who were previously working part time were able to take up full time work hours. The CSO classification of part time work is defined as less than full time work thereby those on four-day weeks or less were counted as part of the part time workforce.

“This growth in full time employment represents very welcome progress. However, real progress can only be measured in the quality of these jobs as opposed to a straight head count. The reality is that in sectors such as financial services and real estate and professional services that there is an annual gender pay gap of 30% between men and women, based on the latest available data extrapolated from CSO administrative earnings data for 2020.

“An important first step in bridging the gap will be the first set of reporting under the gender pay gap legislation at the end of this year. This key legislation was spearheaded by women like our leader, Ivana Bacik and a long line of committed trade unionists, like Patricia King and others.

“However, it is one of several measures needed to close the gap. It is vital that the State transposes the full spirit of the EU’s adequate minimum wage directive later next year plus the EU’s pay transparency directive.

“Together, both pieces of legislation will set out a framework for the establishment of stronger collective bargaining rights in Ireland, underpinned by pay transparency in the advertising of jobs and promotions. Government must do all it can to make sure this groundbreaking work is followed through.”

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