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Earnings statistics have been produced in Ireland since the early nineteen hundreds and were published in the Irish Trade Journal and Statistical Bulletin. Broad Industrial average earnings statistics were first published in 1938. These statistics focused on Industrial employees in the Industry sector, where the majority of non-agricultural employment was based. Since then additional earnings data have included more occupational and sectoral categories.

The CSO’s databank, StatBank, contains data on earnings statistics for the Industry sector (from 1995), the Construction sector (from 1969), the Finance sector (from 1988) and the Distribution and Business Services sector (from 1998). This Historical Earnings publication will now expand the statistics on Industrial earnings in StatBank to include the years 1938 to 1999.

The surveys on which earnings statistics are based have evolved and changed over the years and thus the statistics produced are not directly comparable over time due to changes to methodologies, definitions and classifications. Despite these differences this publication compiles a series of earnings statistics over the period 1938 to 2015. This merged series provides insight into how earnings have evolved from before World War 2 to the present day. Statistics are presented in real (2015 prices) and nominal terms to illustrate the purchasing power of earnings over the period and to allow users relate historical earnings to those of the present day.

This publication on Historical Earnings explores trends in the average industrial wage from 1938 to 2015 in Chapter 1 and relates these trends to relevant events in Ireland’s economic history. Data is presented in Chapter 2 on average earnings in Industry sectors, from 1938 to 2015, and for other sectors in the Irish economy from the 1980s to 2015. In Chapter 3 statistics are presented on the average earnings of occupational groups within the Industry and Construction sectors while Chapter 4 tracks gender-related earnings statistics from 1942 to 2014. Differences in average earnings by age are explored in Chapter 5 and in conclusion Chapter 6 compares nominal average earnings to the cost of purchasing everyday household items.

Average earnings and hours data for the period 1938 to 2015 is provided throughout this publication. The data is also available in StatBank, through the below links:

Go to: The Average Industrial Wage and the Irish Economy