Pay gap for Irish Graduates wider than in Europe

The pay gap between college graduates and others is far wider in Ireland than in most European countries.

The pay gap of Irish graduate students is much wider than that of European students, it has been found.

The Education at a Glance report 2017 shows benefits for Irish graduate students as the Oireachtas education committee plans ways in which they can boost funding for third-level education.

As it stands, the pay gap in Ireland is 50% higher than other European countries as someone with a third-level degree could earn up to €340,000 more over the course of their career.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), who published the report, stated that this earnings premium is the third highest in almost 40 countries.

The Department of Education is in talks of a loan scheme that will compensate for increased student fees. Those in favour of this use the extra earnings in their career as reasoning to balance out the heightened fees.

“Since higher levels of educational attainment tend to translate into higher earnings, investments in education generate higher public returns,” the report states.

The report also found that the Irish graduate students are generally a more educated workforce, as the government gains most from this well-educated population.

These students come in conjunction with those in Portugal and Luxembourg who also have a high level of educated workers.

“Since 2000, the workforce has become more highly educated across OECD and partner countries. Whereas in 2000, the majority of young adults had attained upper secondary education as their highest education level, today the largest share of 25-34 year-olds holds a tertiary degree,” the report said.

There has been a fall in unemployment rates among educated workers from 91% in 2000 to 84% in 2015. Comparing this to the fall in those without a tertiary education, the OECD said in the report that it was “quite moderate”.

It allows for the argument that workers with a third-level degree need less support with social welfare as they are contributing more taxes and costs to the government.

Ellen Fitzpatrick


Image Credit: Education at a Glance