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Ireland’s pay competitiveness is a positive draw in a post Brexit world

International Insights on Brexit

March 29, 2017

The relatively low pay rates of Ireland’s workforce could be a key draw for businesses looking to restructure their operations in the wake of the Brexit vote.

DUBLIN, 29 March, 2017 — Research conducted by Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, shows that the pay of middle managers in Ireland is ranked tenth highest when compared to the top 20 European economies, while entry level staff rank 12th.

These ‘mid table’ positions are a consequence of pay restraint over recent years in Ireland, and they represent lower wage costs than those found in potential rivals for Brexit relocation – particularly in the financial services sector - such as Germany, Holland and Switzerland. Companies looking to shift operations outside of the UK may view Ireland as a more attractive destination.

Also, lower taxes and cheaper living costs mean that the ‘buying power’ of an Irish salary is markedly greater than that of many higher-waged markets across Europe, including Germany, France, Austria, and all of the Scandinavian countries. This is a strong ‘pull’ factor for potential employees relocating to Ireland from the UK and more expensive European countries.

In its latest Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report, Willis Towers Watson found that the typical middle manager in Ireland earns a gross base salary of €82,956 a year, and an entry level professional makes €34,500.

When those figures are adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), which takes buying power into account, Ireland’s middle managers rise to fourth place for relative wealth, with a wage of €62,481. Entry level professional staff also enjoy a strong comparative position, standing in fifth place with €35,671.

Jenny Smyth, Head of Talent and Reward, Willis Towers Watson Ireland, said:

“Brexit poses many challenges for businesses, and we could see some movement of UK-based operations to Ireland, particularly in financial services.

“Pay rates in Ireland for our skilled labour force are very competitive, both for junior and managerial staff, and particularly when compared to rival destinations for financial services.

“Ireland is also notable because it offers existing and new employees a buying power that is much higher than in other European countries paying higher salaries. This creates a win-win for both employers and staff that may see many people drawn here after Brexit.”

The research showed that Switzerland was the country with the highest salaries in Europe. Employees enjoy a gross base pay around 50% higher than the second-placed countries, and substantially more than Irish rates, with €78,680 for entry level and €144,194 for middle management roles. Despite wages being substantially adjusted downward when taxes and the cost-of-living are factored in, Swiss workers still have a higher buying power than all other Europeans.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW ) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 40,000 employees in more than 140 territories. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance.

The Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report

The Willis Towers Watson Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report is designed for multinationals that need reliable and consistent compensation, benefit and economic information. It contains the latest pay information for 50 positions across 60 countries globally.

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