Eastern European workers in Ireland earned an average of 40 per cent less per hour than their Irish counterparts between 2011 and 2018, according to new research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
Non-Irish nationals as a whole earned 22 per cent less per hour than Irish nationals, the study found, though the “migrant wage gap” has shrunk over time.
Migrant women experience “a double earnings penalty”, according to the research, “for being female and for being migrants”. They earned an average of 11 per cent less than non-Irish men and 30 per cent less than Irish men.
The report, Wages and Working conditions of non-Irish nationals in Ireland, found migrants were less likely to be employed in supervisory roles than Irish workers (27 per cent versus 33 per cent) and more likely to do shift work (28 per cent compared to 16 per cent).
The research, which was based on data compiled by the Revenue Commissioners and the Central Statistics Office’s labour force surveys, found that those who had come to Ireland from Asia, western EU countries, North America and Australia tended to be paid fractionally less than their Irish counterparts (between 3 per cent and 7 per cent) in comparable circumstances.
However, workers from these areas and from the UK tended to have “more advantageous working conditions across several job quality indicators compared to their Irish counterparts”, according to the report.
Different communities also gravitate towards different sectors of employment with one-third of Asian people (32 per cent) found to have been working in health or related areas.
Dr James Laurence, a co-author of the report, said the research highlighted how some non-Irish national groups were experiencing a substantial “wage penalty” which was persisting over time.
“One potential driver of this finding may be that the educational qualifications of those concerned do not receive equal recognition by employers in Ireland,” he said.
“Greater efforts may be needed to improve qualification recognition among employers, and raise awareness of the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) system.”