An online survey of 2,000 jobs advertised by online job portals reveals that many of the people who use the job-seeking service are seeking employment with firms that pay them below the minimum wage, and that the vast majority of them are being paid below the poverty line.
The survey of nearly 400 jobs offered by job-search portals across Ireland, Britain and Australia found that 47% of the job seekers who answered were seeking to work at a firm that pays them below minimum wage.
A quarter of them were seeking jobs where they would have to work from home, with the majority of the respondents saying they were seeking work at firms that would not pay them a wage above the minimum.
The research by the Irish Job Centre, which is run by the Department of Employment Affairs, shows that people looking for work at small firms earn less than those in larger firms, and also earn less in higher paying industries such as retail and construction.
The majority of job seekers are looking for a job at a small firm, the survey shows.
People who are seeking work as an independent contractor earn less on average than people in similar jobs who work for a company.
The minimum wage is currently €7.20 per hour, according to the Office of National Statistics.
People in the survey said they would be willing to work for companies that paid them below €6.30 per hour if the employer would provide them with a weekly payment of between €5 and €6 per hour.
Those who are looking to work as a contractor earn the least in Ireland, with an average hourly wage of €2.20, while those who are a full-time employee earn €4.50 an hour.
The highest earning jobs, on average, were those in retail, with a minimum wage of nearly €9.60 an hour, and construction, where the minimum was almost €11.70.
However, the study shows that workers who are employed at small companies earn far more than those working for companies in larger ones.
People working in a retail or construction firm earned an average of €18.00 per hour compared to the €15.80 that people working in retail or office jobs earned, according the study.
This means that many people who are considering starting a new job will be doing so without any wage above minimum wage and without any job guarantee.
The study also found that workers in small firms with annual turnover between €1,000 and €10,000 earned more than people working for larger firms.
The most popular job-seekers in Ireland are those who work in the retail or service sector, with those who do this earning an average annual income of €42,700.
People employed in construction are also in the highest paid in Ireland.
Those working in the service sector earned an annual salary of €56,200, while workers in the construction industry earned an hourly salary of just over €11 an hour in the most popular sector.
People from all walks of life and many different backgrounds were surveyed.
The findings show that employers are paying people less because of the minimum wages, and are therefore using a more exploitative method of employment.
It is an issue that affects every sector of our economy, and is especially pertinent for those of us in the leisure and hospitality sector, said Frances Fitzgerald, a Labour member for the Fianna Fáil party and member of the Irish Government’s Productivity Commission.
“The government should work with employers to ensure that they pay people fairly,” she said.