Back to Top

 Skip navigation

The Earnings Background of Probationers 2014 - 2020

Probationers typically earn up to 30% less than other employees in the labour market

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

Key Findings

  • Overall, probationers’ median or mid-point weekly earnings were 30% below those of non-probationers. A probationer’s median weekly earnings were €406 in 2018 one year after receiving probation supervision, compared with €554 for all employees.

  • The median weekly earnings for female probationers from employment (€309) was just under two-thirds of male probationers (€484) in 2020.

  • Probation re-offenders tended to have lower weekly earnings than those who didn’t re-offend. The median weekly earnings of non re-offenders three years after probation were €482 in 2020, compared with the median weekly earnings of €452 for those who re-offended within three years.

  • The Construction sector provided the highest level of employment for probationers (16% of employed probationers in 2020). The median weekly earnings of probationers working in Construction were €606 per week.

  • Looking at sectoral earnings, median weekly earnings were closest between probationers and other employees working in the Accommodation & Food Services sector. Employees in the Accommodation & Food sector in 2020 received median weekly earnings of €329, compared with probationers’ earnings of €319, or 97% of total earnings.

Statistician's Comment

Commenting, Felix Coleman, Statistician in the Crime and Criminal Justice Division, said: "Today’s publication provides information on the earnings from the employment of individuals who received probation orders in 2017 for the three years prior to and post probation supervision. Additional insights are also provided across the weekly earnings of probationers by age, sex, and re-offending tendency.

In summary, probationers’ weekly earnings from working as an employee were significantly less than the median or mid-point weekly earnings for all employees. Estimates indicate that in 2020, three years following probation supervision, a probationer’s median weekly earnings (€471) were 20% less than the equivalent earnings for all employees (€589). Also, the weekly earnings of female probationers were significantly less than male probationers. In 2020 they earned (€309) just under two thirds of male probationers weekly earnings (€484).  

What the analysis shows at the overall level is that while probationers typically earned less than employees in the labour market, these differences were more related to where probationers typically worked compared to all employees. At the sectoral level, the earnings gap was less pronounced, particularly for those working in the Accommodation & Food sector and in Construction".


In response to requests for a greater understanding of the background of individuals linked to justice sanctions in Ireland, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have developed a statistical profile to describe the earnings of persons who have received Probation Orders from the courts and who are active in the labour market. Not all probationers, like the wider population, are active in the labour market, and this study provides details of probation offenders and re-offenders placed in the supervision of the Probation Service, who are active in the labour market, with existing earnings estimates of the wider population who are also labour market active.

In this analysis, the characteristics of individuals who received a probation order issued in 2017 have been matched to data of their earnings (as employees) provided to the CSO by the Revenue Commissioners from the years 2014 until 2020. Earnings data on those probationers who are self-employed are not included in this analysis. See Background Notes for more information.

The matching years were selected to provide indicators for the three years prior to and three years after the probation period issued by the courts. This allows the statistical analysis to chart the earnings of those who have received probation orders over time. The linkage and analysis were undertaken by the CSO for statistical purposes in line with the Statistics Act, 1993 and the CSO Data Protocol.

Matching details and study inclusions

In total, 4,909 individuals identified by the Probation Service as having received Probation Orders in 2017 were included in the study. The data matching process was carried out by linking these individuals to the CSO’s administrative data by using a pseudo anonymisedlinking identifier. Overall, 86% of the individuals were successfully linked to each of the years of administrative data. Although 14% of probationers were not matched during the process (primarily due to insufficient linking identifiers between the datasets), the personal characteristics of the unmatched population were similar when compared with the matched population with respect to age, sex, and broad location within Ireland. The Background Notes of this report provide a more detailed breakdown of this matching process.

In common with the wider population, not all probationers are active in the labour market. This study is based on the 36% of the probationers (1,532 probationers) who were matched to the CSO’s administrative earnings data and were in active employment. The earnings statistics in this report are based on this cohort only. Table 4.4 in the Background Notes provides details of probationers from 2017 who were linked to administrative data but who did not fall into the earnings analysis for this report as they were not labour market active. Overwhelmingly, this group are linked to one form of Social Welfare payment or another, with the most prevalent supports being Unemployment benefit, Disability benefit, or the Additional Needs payment.

A pseudo anonymised identifier is a number or character string that allows matching between data to take place while at the same time limiting access to the personal characteristics of an individual which are usually associated with data linkage e.g. name, address, DOB, etc.