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Are Earnings Higher in the Public Sector?

Are Earnings Higher in the Public Sector?

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Author

Rory O'Farrell

Summary

There has been much media focus in Ireland on what workers earn in the 'public sector' and the 'private sector'. Earnings of employees are higher in the public sector than in the private sector. The reason is to do with the nature and composition of the workforce in each sector and because the gender pay gap for women is lower in the public sector than in the private sector. When account is taken of differences the gap in earnings is much less than appears to be the case at first glance. Various technical methods are used to estimate the gap in earnings. There is no universal agreement on how to measure the difference or what the extent of the gap is in Ireland. Recently, the Central Statistics Office published an analysis which showed a range of estimates from close to no gap in the case of some estimates for men to a maximum of around 21% of a gap in the case of women workers when other estimates are used. This Brief explores the evidence as contained in the CSO analysis.

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