Best-paid Irish teachers in Europe with impressive salaries
Irish teachers are among the best paid in Europe, according to a new report from the European Commission.
The average gross salary of primary school teachers in Ireland in 2019 and 2020 was € 58,975 – the fourth highest in the EU – ranging from teachers aged 25 to 34 earning an average of € 49,529 to those aged 55 to 64 years old earning € 73,747.
Only teachers in Luxembourg, Denmark and Germany recorded higher incomes than their Irish counterparts in the EU.
The average gross salary of secondary school teachers in the Republic was € 61,414 in 2019/20 – the fifth highest among the 27 EU Member States after Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark – ranging from € 47,848 for teachers aged 25 to 34 to € 73,948 for 55-64 year olds.
The report found a strong correlation between teacher salaries and a country’s gross domestic product per capita.
The authors of the study said that GDP is used as an indicator of a country’s economic performance and as an indicator of the standard of living in a country.
He claimed that a comparison of average gross teachers’ salaries with GDP per capita provided an estimate of “teacher wealth”.
At the same time, the real average salary of teachers is lower than the country’s average GDP per person in almost a quarter of EU Member States, including Ireland.
However, GDP was considered a particularly unreliable measure of relative wealth in the Republic due to the distorting effect of globalization and the impact of the presence of large multinational companies based in the Republic.
This led the Central Statistics Office to introduce modified gross national income (GNI) as a more realistic measure of living standards in Ireland.
Ireland’s GDP per capita was € 73,950 in 2020, although the modified GNI is around € 41,400.
The starting salary for teachers in Ireland at primary and secondary level at € 36,953 is the 7th highest out of the 27 EU Member States ranging from less than € 7,000 in Bulgaria to Luxembourg where they are over 67 € 000 for primary teachers and over € 76,000 for post-primary teachers.
The study also noted that Irish teachers’ salaries are 62% higher than the leaving rate after 15 years and 88% higher at the top of the salary scale – one of the highest rates of increase in the EU.
The report found that inflation-adjusted starting salaries for Irish teachers increased by 19% over the five school years through 2019/20.
As the salary of school principals in Ireland is linked to the size of a school, the report notes that there is a difference of more than 121% between the minimum and maximum wages earned by principals of primary schools in the Republic. The same gap at secondary level is 93%.
The report noted that the different pay systems for calculating the salaries of school principals in the 27 EU member states made comparisons complex and difficult.
The average salary for principals of primary schools in Ireland in 2019/20 was € 85,015, while the same figure for post-primary schools was € 104,277.
The minimum salary for principals of schools with less than 80 students in 2019/20 was € 45,903 with a maximum of € 81,041.
The minimum wage for principals of schools with 60 or more teachers was € 92,851 with a maximum of € 115,182.
The report noted that the Covid-19 crisis has dramatically increased the challenges facing teachers and school principals with the move to distance education, a test of their resilience and adaptability.
He praised the contribution of teachers from across Europe who have shown ‘impressive commitment, creativity, peer collaboration and who have gone to great lengths to ensure continued learning and progress of learners, including support for their well-being ”.
The report also recognizes that the complexity and variety of skills required of teachers pose a challenge for all education systems to attract and retain the most qualified graduates into the teaching profession, with pay being a key element in making it an attractive career.
He said the issue is becoming increasingly important as many countries face teacher shortages and aging teachers.