A new study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has found a significant "migrant wage gap" exists, with people from East Europe particularly affected, earning 40% less per hour than their Irish counterparts.

The research, funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, finds that non-Irish nationals as a whole earned 22% less per hour than Irish nationals in the period 2011-2018.

According to the study, non-Irish nationals are generally more likely to be found in lower quality jobs, are less likely to work in professional or managerial occupations and are much less likely to be members of trade unions or staff associations.

Researchers say that the "migrant wage gap" experienced by East Europeans can be explained by differences in their social and demographic characteristics such as education level, the kinds of jobs that they do and the firms for which they work, but even when these differences are accounted for, they still earn 20.5% less than Irish nationals.

For other non-Irish groups, the gap is much smaller, especially those from West Europe, North America, Australia and Oceania.

Non-Irish women experience what the study describes as a "double earnings penalty" for being female and for being a migrant.

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Non-Irish women earn 11% less than non-Irish men, who in turn earn 18% less than Irish men. This means non-Irish women earn 30% less than Irish men.

The migrant wage gap narrowed over time, from 25.5% in 2011-2013, to 18.7% in 2016-2018, in part because the skill level of the non-Irish workers increased and because they were working in higher quality jobs.

"This study highlights how some non-Irish national groups are experiencing a wage penalty, in some cases a substantial one, and that this is persisting over time," said report co-author Dr James Laurence.

"One potential driver of this finding may be that the educational qualifications of those concerned do not receive equal recognition by employers in Ireland."

"Greater efforts may be needed to improve qualification recognition among employers, and raise awareness of the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) system," Dr Laurence said.

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O'Gorman welcomed the publication of the study.

"It is clear from the report that a divide exists in the treatment of non-Irish nationals in relation to their wages and working conditions which needs to be addressed," Mr O'Gorman said.

"This research gives us a fresh opportunity to effect meaningful change in workplace integration," he added.