Back to Top

 Skip navigation

Background Notes

Background Notes

Online ISSN: 2009-9886
CSO statistical publication, , 11am

This release presents statistics on earnings based on administrative data sources. The primary data source is employee tax data from the Revenue Commissioners, which is linked to data from the CSO and other sources to provide demographic breakdowns of earnings.

Data Sources

Employee Tax Data (Revenue):

Revenue's employee tax data 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 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 employment. For years 2011-2018 the employee tax data used for the EAADS came from employer end of year returns, P35, submitted to Revenue. The P35 was an annual return that was completed by all registered employers after the tax year end, up to 2018. Since 1 January 2019, Revenue have operated real-time reporting of payroll; “PAYE Modernisation" (PMOD). Employers are required to report their employees’ pay and deductions in real-time to Revenue each time they operate payroll. Information is provided to Revenue at individual payslip level. EAADS analysis from 2019 to 2021 is based on the more detailed employee tax data provided by Revenue’s PMOD system.

Department of Social Protection (DSP):

The Central Records System of the Department of Social Protection provides information on age, nationality, gender and county of residence. Using a unique identifier (see 'Methodology' below) each employee on the employee tax data files can be linked to their individual demographic characteristics on the Department of Social Protection datasets. Therefore, the earnings dataset is enhanced by adding the demographic details.

Central Statistics Office Business Register:

Linking the unique enterprise number common to both the Revenue employee tax data files and the CSO’s Business Register allows enterprise level variables to be added to each individual employee. The economic sectors (Nace Rev.2) and the Public/Private sector classifications are harmonised to the Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey (EHECS).


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

  • Employee tax data from 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.

Before using personal administrative data for statistical purposes, the CSO removes all identifying personal information including the Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). The 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 Revenue, DSP 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 PxStat (CSO Main Data Dissemination Service). Average weekly and annual earnings are provided and the information covers both the public and private sectors. 

The Revenue Commissioners also publish data based on the P35 file (up to 2018) on PxStat (CSO Main Data Dissemination Service).  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.

Up to 2018, employments active in October were identified using employment start and end dates on the P35 data. From 2019, active employments are identified by reference to pay dates in the reference month using data from Revenue's PMOD system.

The effect of this restriction on median weekly earnings is shown in Table 9.1 below, for all employments as well as by economic sector. In 2021 the effect of the restriction is an increase of 4.0% in median weekly earnings. The biggest impact by sector was in the Industry sector (4.6%).

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.

Table 9.1 Effect of October only cut off on median weekly earnings, 2017-2021

Table 9.2 October only employments as a proportion of all employments, 2017-2021

Table 9.3 Median weekly earnings without effect of October only cut off, 2017-2021


Annual Earnings 

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 employee tax data provided by the Revenue Commissioners. It includes bonuses and benefit in kind (BIK). It excludes pension payments and severance payments.  

Weekly Earnings

Weekly earnings are calculated by dividing the gross annual earnings by the number of weeks worked. 

Benefit in Kind 

Benefit in kind (BIK) 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. 

Economic Sector Classification (NACE Rev.2)

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)’. 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.

NUTS Classification of Regions

The regional classifications in this publication are based on the NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units) classification used by Eurostat. Previously the NUTS3 regions corresponded to the eight Regional Authorities established under the Local Government Act, 1991 (Regional Authorities) (Establishment) Order, 1993, which came into operation on 1 January 1994 while the NUTS2 regions, which were proposed by Government and agreed by Eurostat in 1999, were groupings of those historic NUTS3 regions.

However, the NUTS3 boundaries were amended on 21st of November 2016 under Regulation (EC) No. 2066/2016. These new groupings are reflected in this publication. As a result of these changes, Louth moved from the Border to the Mid-East and what was formerly South Tipperary was amalgamed with North Tipperary and moved from the South-East to the Mid-West. 

NUTS3 Regional authority areas:  Border, Midland, West, Dublin, Mid-East, Mid- West, South-East and South-West

NUTS 3 Areas  Counties
Border: Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo.
Midland Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath.
West: Galway, Mayo, Roscommon.
Dublin: Dublin.
Mid-East: Kildare, Meath,Wicklow, Louth.
Mid-West: Clare, Limerick , Tipperary.
South-East: Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford.
South-West: Cork, Kerry.

Public Sector Data

Public sector data comprises employments in the Civil Service, Defence, An Garda Síochána, Education, Regional bodies, Health and Semi State, both commercial and non-commercial.

Nationality Groups

Irish - Republic of Ireland.

United Kingdom - Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

EU27 excluding Ireland - Austria, Belgium, Croatia, 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 included in the category EU27 excluding Ireland for all years.

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

COVID-19 Income support schemes

Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS)

Revenue’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme enabled employees, whose employers were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to receive supports directly from their employer through the payroll system. The scheme operated in two phases, a transitional phase from 26 March to 3 May 2020, and an operational phase from 4 May to 31 August 2020.

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme was an economy-wide enterprise support for eligible businesses in respect of eligible employees. The scheme provided a flat-rate subsidy to qualifying employers based on the numbers of eligible employees on the employer’s payroll and gross pay to employees. The EWSS replaced the TWSS from 1 September 2020. EWSS ended for most employers on 30 April 2022 and for everyone on 31 May 2022.

COVID-19 Income Support Tables

The CSO worked with both the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and the Revenue Commissioners to meet user needs for availability of detailed aggregates for the recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), TWSS and EWSS. Tables providing breakdowns of the numbers benefitting from the PUP, EWSS, TWSS and the numbers of persons on the Live Register for each week since March 2020 by sex, age group, county and nationality grouping are available at the following link: PxStat. This link also contains tables for the corresponding numbers included on the Live Register for each week as well as a total number of persons with overlaps removed who are either on the Live Register for each week or who were benefitting from either the PUP, the TWSS or the EWSS. An overlap table excluding the Live Register is also available.

Earnings for Employments in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

The main EAADS results included in this publication are based on employments in NACE sectors B-S and do not include employments active in NACE A, T or U. Table 9.4 below shows analysis of employments in NACE A (Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing), prior to them being excluded from the main data.

This analysis is for PAYE individuals only. It does not include any analysis of self-employed income.

Only employments active in October of the reference year are included in this analysis.

Table 9.4 Mean and median earnings for employments in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, 2021