A recent Irish Times report by Mark Paul about salary levels at Facebook’s Dublin-based operation gives us a salutary lesson in how modern capitalism works. In 2017, Facebook employees received an average salary of €154,000, more than three times the average Irish industrial wage which stood that year at €46,000. The report showed how this was was made up:
The financial statements show that the 1,008 staff directly employed last year by Facebook Ireland each received an average salary of €95,766. Add in share payments, bonuses and so on, and the average pay packet of a Facebook Ireland staff member in 2017 was €154,000, up from about €140,000 in 2016 and €123,000 the year before.
Comparisons with one of the best-paid “indigenous” Irish companies, the electricity suppliers ESB, were almost as staggering. Its 7,790 staff last year were paid an average of only €77,000 in 2017, with another €7,000 or so pension payments. The AIB – one of the country’s pillar banks and the traditional provider of one of those much-coveted “jobs for life”, a post in banking – can’t even match that. Its 10,100 staff were paid average salaries of about €56,000 in 2017, almost €100,000 less than Facebook.
And, as if to rub salt into the wound, Facebook recently confirmed that it plans to move onto the plush D4 site in Ballsbridge, just vacated by AIB, where it will have space to expand its workforce up to 7,000.
Facebook might well be the market leader, but there is no doubt that the other internet giants with a presence in Dublin are also paying these high salaries to their core staff. No wonder, as Mark Paul says, that the rocketing cost of living in Dublin is creating pressure points all across those parts of the economy that don’t face Silicon Valley. Currently, there is building work going on all over the Irish capital, but how many of these homes are being constructed for hard-working families on normal wages has yet to be ascertained.