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  • Writer's pictureAnn Swift

Mind the (gender) gap – analysing Ireland’s 2023 pay gap data

Updated: Mar 13

Gender pay gap reporting was introduced in Ireland in 2021. Up to now, only companies with more than 250 employees have been obliged to report, but by the end of this year that will reduce to 150.

A long promised central government portal giving us all access to the reported data has yet to materialise. But thanks to the efforts of Jennifer Keane, who has manually collected the figures from over 500 individual company reports, we have the Irish Gender Pay Gap Portal.

The analysis of this data is sobering. It reveals that, in 2023, there was an average gender pay gap of 8% (measured using median hourly pay). However, as the chart below shows, there is considerable variation in the pay gap on this measure, and a number of companies had a pay gap of 30% or more. Three quarters of companies who reported had a gender pay gap in favour of male employees.  

Aviation, construction and engineering, banking and finance, and the legal profession, had particularly large pay gaps in 2023. On the other hand, local authorities, and health and social care, have average industry pay gaps in favour of women.

There is an identifiable but not perfect relationship between the gender pay gap measured in terms of median hourly pay, and the proportion of women on higher pay in an organisation (a metric which companies are also obliged to report). The following chart plots companies in four industry sectors in terms of these metrics. A number of companies and organisations have a high pay gap, despite their high proportion of senior women (the upper right hand area). (Click on any point to see the company & its pay gap).

There is an even weaker relationship between the bonus gap and the proportion of highly paid women in an organisation. This suggests that company structure is not enough to explain the differences, and that something more complex may be going on. Viewed by industry sector, the legal profession seems to be a particular outlier on this comparison.

It will be interesting to see what the more comprehensive 2024 data yields - and perhaps, by then, the government will have finally launched its data portal. After all, the value of this data lies in its transparency.

Note: the total number of a company's employees does not seem to be included in the national data. Hopefully the government might collect this information in future years.


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