A minimum wage job can be a stepping stone to higher paid work, but such work can represent a low wage trap for certain groups of workers, according to the the Economic and Social Research Institute.

The study reveals that in a nine month period in 2016-2017, almost a third of 1,514 workers surveyed progressed from the minimum wage to higher paid employment.

90% of those did so with the same employer.

Minimum wage employees are more likely to progress to higher pay if they are Irish nationals, older workers, better educated, and in full time, permanent employment.

But it is far harder to move out of minimum wage work for non-Irish citizens, younger workers, those working part time or on temporary contracts, and with lower educational attainment.

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The ESRI states: "This suggests that [National Minimum Wage] employment is likely to represent a low wage trap for particular groups of workers".

Minimum wage workers are more likely to become unemployed that higher paid employees.

The authors stress that, while they can identify workers exiting minimum wage status, they cannot assess the extent to which those individuals are also exiting low-paid employment.

The research is based on the responses of 1,514 minimum wage workers to a new set of questions in the Quarterly National Household Survey. 

It found that of those 1,514 people, 30% moved from the minimum wage to higher paid employment during the nine-month research period. 

Over 90% of these did so while continuing to work for the same employer. 

However, 18% of respondents remained on the minimum wage for the full nine months.  

13% of the sample saw a wage drop from higher pay to the minimum wage during the relevant period, while 11% got a minimum wage job having been unemployed. 

Approximately 17% of respondents moved in and out of minimum wage employment during the nine months under examination. 

Just under 6% moved from being on or below the minimum wage to unemployment or inactivity.

The research also found that minimum wage workers were 10 percentage points more likely to become unemployed or inactive compared to non-minimum wage workers in the highest 10% of earners.