What is the current Gender Pay Gap in Ireland?

The Gender Pay Gap is defined as the percentage difference between the average hourly wages of men and women (regardless of their seniority). In Ireland, the Gender Pay Gap currently stands at 14.4%. Rather exceptionally, Monday 8th November 2021 was marked as ‘Equal Pay Day’, the date on which women in Ireland are effectively working for free, relative to men, for the remainder of the year according to research from WorkEqual.


Why does the Gender Pay Gap in Ireland and the rest of the world?

Whilst Ireland’s Gender Pay Gap has fallen from 17.3% in 2007 to 14.4% in 2021, which is now below the EU average of 14.9%, the explanation behind the Gender Pay Gap is not particularly evident. It is argued that the Gender Pay Gap should not be confused with the concept of equal pay for equal work, as a Gender Pay Gap does not necessarily equate to discrimination. 

In some job sectors, men tend to be categorised in higher pay brackets. For example, in the aviation industry, the majority of higher-paid pilots at present are men, while the majority of lower-paid cabin crew tend to be female. As a result, a substantial Gender Pay Gap is present. Additionally, more women may be working part-time to accommodate family requirements or a lack of affordable childcare, and this in turn will reduce earnings. Almost 70% of part-time workers are female in Ireland. 


What is being done to reduce the Gender Pay Gap in Ireland?

On a positive note, Ireland’s Gender Pay Gap compares favourably with the UK (17%), US (18%), and Canada (18%), highlighting Ireland is on the right track to reducing the Gender Pay Gap. 

On 13 July 2021, the Irish government introduced gender pay gap reporting as a legal requirement in Ireland. The aim of the legislation is to get employers to report on differences in pay, bonuses, and benefit in kind benefits broken down by gender. Employers will have to explain the reasons identified for the gap and outline the measures they have in place to address it.

With the legislation, it is now mandatory for employers to report the pay gap in:

  • Hourly pay and bonus amounts
  • Pay-band distribution
  • The proportion of employees receiving benefits in kind and bonuses
  • Differences in gender pay by job classification e.g., part-time and temporary contracts 

The implementation of the legislation will commence in 2022. It will initially apply to all companies with more than 250 employees and in year two of the implementation, it will apply to companies with more than 150 employees.