SIPTU Big Start
3 min readNov 18, 2020

1. The OECD has only recently begun publishing ‘teacher’ salaries at pre-primary level. It is available here.

2. There are a number of caveats in this data:

· The salaries are expressed in US $ purchasing power parities

· The salaries are based on ‘public institutions’. These are no directly comparable to Ireland’s early years’ system which doesn’t have public institutions.

· The OECD data does not have Irish data. The data for Ireland is taken from Pobal’s ‘Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report’ and converted into US$ purchasing power parities

· The average annual salaries includes bonuses and allowances

3. International Comparisons

Average annual salaries can be skewed by hours at work, full-time and part-time. However, the expert panel believes that average annual salaries:

‘ . . . provides a better benchmark for the position for ELC workers as it is the total earnings which determine living standards and, arguably, social position.’

Ireland is near the bottom of the table. Much poorer countries (Costa Rica, Chile, and Brazil) have higher annual salaries. To reach the OECD average Irish annual salaries at pre-primary level would have to increase by 70.4 percent.

(a) EU Peer Group

If we redo the above table to compare Ireland with our peer group in other EU countries, our low pay status becomes even starker.

Irish annual salary would have to more than double (107 percent) to reach the average of other countries in our EU peer group.

(b) Hourly Pay

The Expert Panel was able to obtain limited data on hourly pay comparisons. These are expressed in Euros PPPs.

This tells a similar story as the average annual salary table.

(c) Annual Salaries Relative to National Average

The following table compares the average annual salaries for pre-primary teachers to the average full-time national salary for ‘similarly educated workers’.

A ratio of 1.0 would equal full parity between pre-primary teachers and the national average. Therefore, we see that in countries like Belgium, France, Sweden, Israel and Slovenia childcare workers’ salaries approximate the national average. This suggests higher social position and respect. Ireland, on the hand, ranks last at less than half the national average.