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Financial services labour costs most flexible in economy Back
Financial services has the most flexible labour costs of any sector of the Irish economy, and by some margin, according to results from the CSO’s expanded quarterly earnings survey, the Earnings, Hours and Employment Costs Survey (EHECS) which were published in the Central Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin in January.
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The survey shows that in the ‘financial, insurance & real estate group’ average weekly earnings fell by -13.3 per cent and average hourly earnings fell by 11.6 per cent in the second quarter of 2009. This fall in average weekly earnings represents a much steeper decline than in all other sectors of the economy (see table below) and is most noticeable in average hourly earnings’ where there was a ‘rise in almost all other sectors’.

The sharpness of the fall in financial services earnings is attributed in part by the report to the fall in ‘irregular payments’ - the ‘most flexible component of pay.’ Although there was a cut in irregular payments in other sectors, there was a cut of around two-thirds in ‘irregular payments’ in financial services. The ‘role of irregular earnings in driving movements in average hourly earnings is comparatively higher in the financial services sector as bonus payments tend to feature more prominently in pay in this sector’ says the report.
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