This inBrief provides a broad overview of changes to annual wages at different stages in the worklife cycle in Ireland between 2008 and 2016. The period under consideration includes the peak of the Celtic Tiger, the financial crisis, the subsequent recession and four years of strong macroeconomic growth (2012- 2016).
The analysis shows that the median wage for the two youngest cohorts in 2016 had not recovered to the level recorded in 2008. The average for the youngest workers (18-24) was 8.9% lower in real terms in 2016 than in 2008. Average annual salary for 25-34 year olds in 2016 was 1.4% higher in real terms compared to 11.8% and 13.3% for 35-44 and 45-54 year olds respectively.
Trends for the 25-34 year old group are of particular concern as evidence from survey data points to a more positive educational profile for this group in 2016 relative to 2008 whilst the share of low-skilled jobs has increased. This suggests that the returns to education diminished substantially between 2008 and 2016 and has implications for future lifetime earnings of young Irish workers.