High wages but low living standard

High wages but low living standard

Ireland may have some of the highest wages in the EU but it lags behind several fellow member states for standards of living.

A study of 18 countries by Glassdoor Economic Research says that Irish workers are among the best paid in Europe.

In terms of nominal wages, Ireland only ranks behind Switzerland, Norway and Denmark, with the average annual income in excess of €50,000. When the figures were calculated on a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis, taking into account the differences in relative prices within countries, it jumped to second in the list.

The average income per annum in Ireland using this model was approximately €40,000, with only those in Switzerland earning more.

But due to Ireland’s relatively high living costs, the gap between take-home pay and price levels makes for a comparatively low standard of living. Dublin was classed the eighth most expensive city in Europe, with Cork ranked 19th.

Ireland was ranked eighth in terms of standard of living – similar to Norway and Austria – in a list topped by Switzerland, Denmark and Germany.

Irish workers have it better than in the UK, according to Glassdoor’s findings. Glassdoor ranks the UK as a country with middling wages and high costs. It placed the UK tenth in the standard of living costs, behind several other northern European nations but ahead of Spain, Italy and Portugal. Wages in Britain have decreased in real terms since a previous study in 2007, with the average nominal annual income €40,000 – the eighth highest in Europe.

When calculated on a PPP basis, average UK wages stand at roughly €35,000 per annum, dropping them to ninth in the list.

According to the report, London is Europe’s third most expensive city – behind Geneva and Zurich – and also boasts the highest rent prices. The next most expensive city in Britain was Birmingham, some 13 places below the UK capital.


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