Low pay, hard work - Ireland's inhospitable hospitality sector

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TASC is examining what is happening to job quality in Ireland today. The current research is part of the ‘Working Conditions in Ireland’ project, which studies four sectors: construction, hospitality, financial services and IT/software. Its initial findings in the hospitality sector suggest that the industry is growing bad jobs. The findings are contained in a ‘Research Highlights’ released on 19 November 2015.

The key findings include:

Irish hospitality is a low pay sector:
• Average weekly earnings in 2015 are €324.86 (national average weekly earnings €697.52)*.
• In 2013 more than 16% of those working in Accommodation and Food Services only earned the National Minimum Wage*.
• Low hourly rates are combined with low hours: now in 2015 the average hours worked in this sector amounted to 26.4 per week (national average 31.9)*.
• Hours are uncertain: many employees do not know how many hours they will work next week.

Health and safety issues:
• Despite being classified as ‘services’, many of the occupations in this sector involve work that is physically demanding.
• Unlike in other sectors such physical work is often not recognised and not financially rewarded.
• An extreme example: in the accommodation departments of hotels staff can develop serious health problems (back injuries) since they are required to turn more and more mattresses on a daily basis.

Limited career options:
• In the recent past there were clear career paths available for some occupations in the Irish hospitality sector.
• Over the last two decades entry jobs have been casualised and intermediate jobs removed, flattening the occupational structure.
• Managerial positions in hospitality don’t come with high wages: the average hourly rate for managers, professionals and associate professionals in this sector is around €19 per hour (national average for the same group is more than €30).

Low Paid and Demanding: Work in the Irish Hospitality Sector. Working Conditions in Ireland, Research Highlights no. 1 is available here: www.tasc.ie/assets/files/pdf/wciphighlightshospitality.pdf

This is the first in a series of ‘Research Highlights’ examining working conditions in Ireland. Subsequent issues will look at work in the other three sectors: construction, financial services and IT/Software.

The Working Conditions In Ireland Project is funded by FEPS (Federation of European Progressive Studies) and ICTU.

*For statistical sources please see ‘Research Highlights’ document.

For further information contact the project researcher Dr. Alicja Bobek.
Contact details: abobek@tasc.ie; tel. 01 6169050
Project webpage: www.tasc.ie/researchpolicy/wcip.html


Media enquiries should be directed to:

Shana Cohen
Email: scohen@tasc.ie
Tel: +353 1 6169050

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