Some Trends in Employment

The 1.783 million people working in Ireland can be crudely broken into the following three categories:

  • Private-sector employees (1,112,000)
  • Self-employed (290,000)
  • Public-sector (including semi-states) employees (381,000)

Of the self-employed, 88,000 have employees (who are included in the first category).  Within the public sector, there are 330,000 employees in the public service and 51,000 employees in the semi-state bodies.  A breakdown of employees by category which are full-time and part-time would be useful but is not available.

These figures are taken from the most recent release of Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) , though the employee figures used in Table A3 of the release are actually based on the results of the Earnings and Labour Costs Survey (ELCS).

Graphs showing the trend of the three categories since 2008 (the start of the ELCS dataset) are below the fold.

Here is the pattern of full-time/part-time employment noting that it includes all people (employees and self-employed) from the three categories shown above.

37 replies on “Some Trends in Employment”

Public sector employment in Civil Service, Garda, Defence, Regional Bodies down 8,400 year-on year, but employment in Public Administration & Defence; compulsory Social Security up down just 600.

Public sector employment in Education down 8,100 year-on-year but all employment in Education down 1,700.

Public sector employment in Health down 6,400 year-on-year, but all employment in Health & Social Welfare down 900.

It would be good to know whether falling public service employment numbers represent genuine shedding of staff, or are mostly about shifting them off the books while still funding almost as many as in the past.

Methinks there are lots of lean and hungry self-employed around … and not solely confined to the construction sector.

Useful graphics … as per usual.

At least, the self-employed_Dole tranisition is now on Minister Burton’s agenda – which, when she delivers, will take some pressure of the Vincent de Paul next time …. as the financial system is as rogue today as it was in 2007/2008.

Stimulus anyone?


“At least, the self-employed_Dole tranisition is now on Minister Burton’s agenda”

I probably missed this story. Are they finally going to allow self-employed people to claim unemployment benefit – which they cannot do now as far as I am aware – even if they have been unable to find any work for a couple of years and their savings have run out? I know some se’s who are in dire straits and have been since 2009.

@PR Guy
Yes – course SEs will have to pay up on prsi etc but it’s better than present position – crazy anomaly – which left more than a few in dire straits and prob best highlighted by Cork VdP …. and on this one Minister Joan Burton will act.

Self employed people cannot draw any benefits but those they used to employ can draw benefits anyone in this country would want to be stark raving mad to decide to become self employed. Bruton is being totally disingenuous the problem could have been tackled but (i) it will cost big money and (ii) it will increase the headline figures for unemployment and runs against the narative that we are all happy campers in the Irish economy, which has turned the corner and is on the road to recovery and will not be needing another bailout.

We have the social welfare department going after fraudulent claims but then we read in todays paper that 4 years after the banking crisis that has cost us tens of billions “the Garda Fraud Squad has no legal expertise and relies on just two accountants to tackle white collar crime WCC.

188,000 unemployed continuously for 12 months or more in Oct 2012.

As regards the lack of part time data on public sector staff, it maybe be a state secret to avoid a focus on full time equivalent numbers — down 5,406 since 2007 – – which looks less impressive than the claimed reduction in numbers.

Wonder how many former staff have been given nixers as consultants?

The Irish Times reported on Saturday on the bonanza for the former head of Aer Rianta International, the DDA unit.

“exit package comprised a lump sum of €437,000 and a payment of €68,000 annually for 6.3 years to bridge the gap to retirement.

The DAA confirmed yesterday that Mr Foley now worked as a paid external consultant with ARI and served on the boards of certain subsidiaries.

People who want to retire should be left go with no strings attached.

Have your cake and eat it elsewhere! The country is banjaxed!

“The graveyards are full of indispensable men,” is a quote attributed to General Charles De Gaulle.

The Wall Street Journal reports today:

When Samuel J. Palmisano retires next month, he’ll enjoy a generous goodbye present: The former IBM chief will earn $20,000 for any day he spends four hours advising his longtime employer.

That means hypothetically he could pocket $400,000 a year for 20 half-days of work—twice what his predecessor, Louis V. Gerstner Jr., makes per day under a similar consulting arrangement. Mr. Palmisano’s contract is open-ended and doesn’t specify the number of days he will work. Mr. Gerstner’s 10-year consulting contract expires in March.

This is simply a shakedown for the super-rich.

As regards the Irish self-employed, many are freelancers, not by choice and of course, they lack political clout.

Modern work……

Apple the most valuable company in the world has the best of both worlds — Foxconn’s battery-hen army in China costing as little to assemble an iPhone 5 ($8) as it recently forced HTC of Taiwan to pay per smartphone sold in respect of disputed patents and another army of apps developers lured by the prospect of winning a lottery but slaving for very little return — even for those who earn a few crumbs, Apple takes 30%:

@ Seamus Coffee

Re public sector

Look at page 14

Is this data wrong?

Also your data starts in 2008 but there were large increases in employment the public sector for 2007 and 2008 especially in health and education according to the data below. Again on page 14


Sinn Féin proposes ‘fair tax’ plan

Party finance spokesman Pearse Doherty TD said the Government could either push struggling families over the edge while protecting the wealthiest in society, or ensure a larger contribution from the wealthiest, while the most vulnerable sectors were protected. […..]

“Sinn Féin proposes new taxes of €2.758 billion and public spending savings of €1.044 billion. We include the tax carry-over of €220 million and our expenditure measures amount to €338.68 million.”

“On the tax side, we have concentrated on sections of society which we believe can afford to pay more. So we introduce a third rate of tax of 48 per cent on income in excess of €100,000.

“We propose a 1 per cent wealth tax on net wealth in excess of €1 million, excluding business assets, working farms, pension pots and 20 per cent of the family home.”

I know I am risking becoming a single issue contributor but I think its important to point out some inconvenient stats that almost everyone is ignoring.

Between 2007 and 2011 the numbers employed are down by about 300,000
Between 2007 and 2011 the numbers employed have decreased by 227,000
The young are taking a massively disproportional hit on employment emigration and perhaps surprisingly to people who havent been monitoring where social welfare cuts have been imposed poverty.

The reason that youth unemployment has been attacked so viciously is mainly due to the exact same policies being pursued in public and private sector.

Maintain real wages for older better paid employees that were inflated massively and unsustainably during the boom at the expense of employing the young people who enter the labour force.

What more civilized countries do in a recession is reduce real wages to protect jobs. I.e allowing the normal flow of young people to become employed

People who are on above average pay rates in the public and private sectors need to realise that their insistence on maintaining pay rates is not unlinked to their children and neighbors children having to emigrate.

Employers in both Public and private sectors need to realise that reducing the amount of 20-29 year old’s working in the country by 227,000 (39%) is the main reason that the domestic economy has shrunk for the last 6 years. They policies are not just immoral. They are awful for business.

Sorry. Between 2007 and 2011 the numbers employed between 20-29 years decreased by 227,000.

@ eamon moran +1

It never ceases to amaze me that they would rather skype their children in the US or Australia than take a salary cuts but then the other side of the coin is that they know the system is so corrupt that the salary cuts would most likely be siphoned off to pay bondholders or promissory notes rather than investing in our own economy.

@ Riona

The 2012 total ex-local authorities does tie in with 2012 data in the publication referred to by eamonn moran above: 264k full-time equivalents.

@ eamonn moran

Keep highlighting the bitter truths that the comfortable old fogies that run the show including the mainstream media and trade unions, don’t wish to hear.

What the story of the convenient job for Eamonn Gilmore’s wife illustrates again is how unfair a system that he as deputy prime minister, presides over.

He is correct in saying he didn’t have to have any involvement in the issue.

When a job position is abolished, there is either an actual job position to be filled; a made-up position or a voluntary inducement to leave.

Why do one set of people with high pay and benefits have such guaranteed rights to a job from the State while others can be consigned to the scrapheap?

It’s not bad being socialists including the State paying €525,000 for a school site that hasn’t been used.

@ seafóid

The same point could be said about suicide — usually because of good intentions.

@Eamon Moran
“People who are on above average pay rates in the public and private sectors need to realise that their insistence on maintaining pay rates is not unlinked to their children and neighbours children having to emigrate.”


Notice the very large reduction in the wider pubic sector employment.
From about ~430,000 to 381,000. Almost 50,000. But a huge amount of this fa;ll was in in late 2008.
That was temporary and contract workers getting it in the neck as the first line of PS defence, to clear the field for the very expensive redundancy deals for ‘permanent’ staff.

The Irish sense of fair play must be measured to a very warped yardstick.

I think using an index of employed numbers in 2008 for each of the three groups would give a better idea of changes and allow comparision on the same graph. As it is, the different scales mean that the graphs are not cross-comparable.

@ Michael Hennigan
“Keep highlighting the bitter truths that the comfortable old fogies that run the show including the mainstream media and trade unions, don’t wish to hear.”

Cheers Michael, its a nice change from the reaction I have been getting from trade unions, academics and “progressives” who are ignoring any attempts I make at engaging with them on this issue.

I know I am asking them to examine the equity of their own positions but I have been shocked at just how self interested some of these “progressives” have shown themselves to be.

One point being missed regarding remuneration of senior civil servants and senior bank management and directors is that the government needs to keep them onside if they are to implement their policies. This started with Brian Lenihan who quickly changed his mind about removing bonuses from senior civil servants.

@Seamus Coffey
Thank you – that’s pretty stark.

I accept it wasn’t the purpose, but variable scaling on graphs gives me the willies. Too often it is used to hide or promote false relativities.

@ Brian
Ill grant you that the government feels it needs to keep them onside.
You only have to look at the deference shown to bankers by Michael Noonan.
However I disagree they would have to.
There is very little evidence to suggest they are as esteemed as they believe.

The likelyhood of many of these people leaving their jobs due to decreases in payment is miniscule IMHO. It has never been tried and never been proven. They are bluffing.
Where would they go?
The fiancial services industry are about to fire and retire a few thousand.
Many of these people are highly qualified and would jump at a chance to replace any disgruntled highly paid civil service managers.

The 1.783 million people working in Ireland can be crudely broken by the Troika would also work as an opening sentence to the piece

@eamonn moran

“The fiancial services industry are about to fire and retire a few thousand.”

That’s supposed to be a secret…..

That’s supposed to be a secret…..

The amount of coverage that banker’s pay was getting kind of gave it away.

@eamonn moran

If you needed a bank to take a multi billion bond off you do think cutting the bank’s CEO’s pay would be helpful (think promissory note). No didn’t think so.

@ Brian

Remember the controversy about the retention bonuses that were paid to the staff of the unit that was responsible for the near-collapse of AIG, the insurance giant?

There was a need to retain the ‘talent’ i.e. the geniuses responsible for the debacle!

Here we have an argument for high pay for people who never even ran a burger stand – – they took risks with others’ money or in the case of civil servants, didn’t even have to make a decision — and the politicians involved in the process are naifs when it comes to business but also are directly conflicted in respect of issues such as outrageous pensions.

A recent UK study showed that entrepreneurs are more risk-averse than the general population. Simply, the business owners have their life’s work at risk.

Interesting argument is the suggestion that Ireland is better governed than Sweden where MPs receive a salary that is 25% lower than Irish counterparts – – never mind the modest expenses compared with the scrounger levels in Ireland.

In the bailed-out banks, 326 receive more than €200,000; 104 receive more than €300,000; 48 receive more than €400,000 and 27 receive more than €500,000. The figures include salaries, pension contributions and other forms of payment.

The dead bank Anglo Irish is closed for business — but remains one of Ireland’s biggest indigenous firms with 1,000 employed. Seven ‘experts’ earning over €500,000 plus fringe.

Guess what — all the major decisions are legal-related and that expertise is bought in.

Would there be really work for 200?

The ‘experts’ were the same people who thought they had invented the free lunch and that is the basis on why they now can clear up a mess?

A survey of executive salaries in Ireland by the Irish Management Institute (IMI) in respect of 2007/08, showed that CEOs of companies with an annual turnover in excess of €500m were the best paid, earning on average €251,000, while CEOs of leading organisations employing over 1000 workers, earned an average salary of €312,243.

It is time for the money-changers to flee from their high seats in the temple of our civilisation and for us to focus on the people who can create sustainable wealth.

@ Brian

Is this the same bank that is only still in business due to the over generous guarantee given to them by the state and its citizens and x billion for recapitalization?

You would think they would do what they are told? At least for a few years.
Brass necks of them.

And yet their CEO will go into the finance committee and block and refuse to answer questions and try to argue that he is running a commercial enterprise?
Give me a break.



The print media as far as I could read didn’t seem capabale of joining this particular set of dots when Ritchie Boucher was doing his thing in the Dail Committee recently. The outrage that was voiced over his salary etc and yet few if any seem to remember that but for the softly softly approach by BOI last March there would have been a default on the €3.1bn PN payment.

At the time it made no sense why BOI would have agreed to the deal they did because they were guaranted to lose c€75m on the trade and yet the shareholders gladly signed up. I may be wrong but I wouldn;t be at all surprised that part of the deal ensured that Ricthie et al would see no further renumeration downgrades. No doubt we’ll never know.

cant help thinking about wages of old fogies being part of the problem is just tinkering at the edges the reality is that Ireland needs a structured default they levels of debt vs the population and economic output are just too far apart. The debt levels domestically should also be addressed and the insolvency bill is too weak the government are dithering and seem to be waiting for so act of god instead of bring real leaders making definite policy changes and removing burdens from backs of ordinary people. This will boost sentiment immediately and reinvigorate the domestic economy which is dieing every day exports and ‘the gathering’ will do nothing one can see from England’s investigation that the multinationals don’t even pay the taxes they are supposed to by engaging in creative accounting practices. This country needs default domestic and nationally.

@Brian /@Yields

So Ireland got a one year bridging finance deal from BOI on the PN note, the price of which was the bond yield plus undisclosed salary and remuneration sweeteners for the BOI chappies?

Meantime NAMA paid back bonds before their due date. Frank and Brendan will have to be more alert next year.

Quite obviously we wont be allowed to default when our pay rates are so high at the middle and upper end. Its not tinkering at the edges either. Its one of the main reasons we have a deficit.

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