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Higher earnings for those with higher levels of education

Earned incomes were higher in 2016 as the level of education increased for persons who were working for payment or profit and aged 18 and over. The median earned income for those with a Ph. D was €60,912, nearly five times higher than the median of €14,684 for a person with no education, see Figure 5.1.

In 2016 the median earned income for all persons working for payment or profit aged 18 and over was €26,000 (see Table 5.1).

Note that earned income in this chapter includes income from employment and self-employment and was not adjusted for hours worked, see Background and Methodology for further details.

Level of educationMedian earned income
No education14684
Lower secondary19809
Upper secondary19978
Advanced certficate26940
Higher certificate26506
Ordinary degree32193
Honours degree37830

Males earned higher income across all levels of education

Males aged 18 and over had higher earned incomes than females aged 18 and over across all levels of education, see Figure 5.2 and Table 5.1. Note that this comparison is not adjusted for hours worked which accounts for some of the difference in incomes.

The highest gender difference was for persons with lower secondary education, where females had an earned income of €13,834, 57.5% of that for males at €24,077.

The lowest gender differences were for those who had a Ph.D. Females with an Ph.D had median earned income of €53,091, 77.2% of the income for males of €68,773.

The median earned income for all females working and aged 18 and over was €22,799 in 2016, which was 78.3% of the value for males of €29,127, see Table 5.1.

Level of educationMale median earned incomeFemale median earned income
Ph.D or higher6877353091
Honours degree4448234258
Ordinary bachelor3817328148
Higher certificate3244422693
Advanced certficate3156018827
Upper secondary2329817010
Lower secondary2407713834
No education1716911147
Show Table: Table 5.1: Median earned income per person working aged 18 and over by level of education and gender, 2016

Proportion of persons who received working age social welfare decreased with level of education

The proportion of those educated to Ph.D level who received any working age social welfare in 2016 was 15.5%, see Figure 5.3, compared to more than half (53.6%) of those who had no education.

Note that working age social welfare is defined here to exclude child benefit and the state pension.

Level of educationProportion receiving working age social welfare
No education53.6
Lower secondary39.6
Upper secondary31
Advanced certficate30.7
Higher certificate29.9
Ordinary bachelor24.3
Honours degree21.2

An honours degree holder earned most in Dublin City

Those who held an honours degree qualification as their highest level of education and were working in Dublin City had a median earned income of €44,664 in 2016, the highest in the country, followed by South Dublin (€44,479) and Cork County (€43,861), see Map 5.1. 

Counties of work with the lowest medians for honours degree holders were Carlow (€34,326), Donegal (€34,537) and Galway City (€34,546).

Table 5.2 shows median earned income per person working by highest level of education achieved and county of work in 2016.

Show Table: Table 5.2: Median earned income per person by highest level of education achieved and county of work, 2016

Link to interactive tables: Statbank

Go to next chapter: Occupations and Sector