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Background Notes

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This release presents statistics on earnings based on administrative data sources. The primary data source is the Revenue Commissioner’s P35L dataset of employee annual earnings which is linked to CSO and other data to provide demographic breakdowns of earnings similar to those previously provided by the National Employment Survey (NES). This release does not replicate all the tables available from the former NES; it does not contain any breakdown of hours worked or hourly earnings.


The results presented in this release are based on a data-matching exercise of three administrative data sources:

  • The P35L files (employer end-of-year returns) of the Revenue Commissioners.
  • The Central Records System of the Department of Social Protection.
  • The Central Statistics Office’s Business Register.

The linkage and analysis was undertaken by the CSO for statistical purposes in line with the Statistics Act, 1993 and the CSO Data Protocol available at:

Before using personal administrative data for statistical purposes, the CSO removes all identifying personal information including the PPSN. The Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) is a unique number that enables individuals to access social welfare benefits, personal taxation and other public services in Ireland. The CSO converts the PPSN to a Protected Identifier Key (PIK). The PIK is a unique and non-identifiable number which is internal to the CSO. Using the PIK enables the CSO to link and analyse data for statistical purposes, while protecting the security and confidentiality of the individual data. The P35L, CRS and CSO records were linked using the PIK for this project. All records in the datasets are anonymised and the results are in the form of statistical aggregates which do not identify any individuals.

The publication tables in this release are provided by NACE economic sector, gender, age, nationality and region (residence) and are available on the CSO Statbank (CSO Main Data Dissemination Service). Average weekly earnings are provided and the information covers both the public and private sectors. Additional earnings analysis tables using the administrative data sources detailed above will be added to the CSO Statbank in the coming weeks.

The Revenue Commissioners also publish data based on the P35L file under 'Schedule E' on the CSO Statbank. This includes mainly PAYE individuals but also includes non-PAYE income and records for married couples.  The CSO analysis is for PAYE individuals only.

Exclusion of employees from earnings data:

For the purposes of this analysis the CSO excluded employees earning less than €500 per annum and employments where the duration was less than two weeks in the year.  Also excluded were secondary employments earning less than €4,000 per annum, extremely high earnings values and missing employer and employee reference numbers. Employment activity in NACE sectors A, T and U has also been excluded from the analysis. 

Restriction to October only

In line with Eurostat requirements relating to Structure of Earnings Statistics (in particular Council Regulation (EC) No 530/1999) the data used for this analysis has been restricted to employments that were active in the month of October.

The effect of this restriction on median weekly earnings is shown in Table 9.1 below, for all employments as well as by main economic sector. In 2018 the effect of the restriction is an increase of 5.5% in median weekly earnings. The biggest impact by sector was in the Wholesale & Retail sector (5.1%) while the Accommodation & Food sector was the only one that showed a reduction in median weekly earnings as a result of the restriction.

Table 9.2 presents the October only employments as a proportion of all employments available if the restriction was not applied. Again, it is presented for all employments as well as by main economic sector.

Show Table: Table 9.1 Effect of October only cut off on median weekly earnings

Show Table: Table 9.2 October only employments as a proportion of all employments

Data Sources

Revenue Commissioners (P35L):

The Revenue Commissioner’s P35L file contains a complete register of all employments and is the most accurate source of remuneration.  It provides details of gross annual earnings and number of weeks worked in the year for all employments. The annual P35 data is based on the number of all jobs held by employees during the year. The weekly earnings are calculated by dividing the gross annual earnings, as declared to Revenue by the number of weeks worked in the year for each job.   

Department of Social Protection (DSP):

The Central Records System of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection provides information on age, nationality, gender and county of residence. Using a Unique Identifier (PIK) each employee on the P35L file can be linked to their individual demographic characteristics on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Datasets. Therefore, the P35L dataset is enhanced by adding the demographic details.

Central Statistics Office Business Register:

Linking the unique enterprise no. (CBR) common to both the P35L file and the CSO’s Business Register allows enterprise level variables to be added to each individual employee for NACE Rev.2 industrial sectors. The Nace Rev.2 sectors and the Public/Private Sector are harmonised to the Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey (EHECS).


Total annual earnings 

Total annual earnings represent the total gross annual amount (before deduction of tax, PRSI and superannuation) payable by the enterprise to its employees. This information is obtained from the Revenue Commissioner’s P35L dataset. It includes bonuses and benefit in kind (BIK). It excludes pension payments and severance payments.  In the small number of cases where an employee has been made redundant in the course of the year the employee’s income excludes statutory redundancy payments but includes non-statutory redundancy payments.

Weekly earnings

Weekly earnings are calculated by dividing the gross annual earnings by the number of weeks worked as declared on the P35L file. 

Benefit in kind 

Benefit in kind is the notional income calculation of the value of all ‘payments in kind’, made to the employee during the year (for example, the private use of a company car, medical insurance payments paid by the company, company products at reduced prices, housing, etc.). BIK is included in the gross annual earnings of the employee submitted to the Revenue Commissioners by the employer. 

NACE Rev.2 Classification:

The economic sector classification (NACE) is aligned to the CSO’s EHECS Survey. The economic sector classification used for the EHECS is based on the ‘Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE Rev.2)’ which can be accessed on the Eurostat website. The NACE code of each enterprise included in the survey was determined from the predominant activity of the enterprise, based on information provided to the CSO.

Public Sector Data:

Public sector data is compiled from employees in the Civil Service, Defence, Garda Síochána, Education, Regional bodies, Health and Semi State, both commercial and non-commercial as published in the Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey (EHECS).

Nationality groups:

Irish - Republic of Ireland.

United Kingdom - Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

EU27 excluding Ireland & UK - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Croatia joined the EU on 1st July 2013 and is in the category EU28.

Other Nationalities All other nationalities not included in the above three groupings as well as those who could not be coded.

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