Ireland’s most senior house agent has suggested that the country’s house agent industry is facing “a long, slow death” and has urged people to think long and hard about whether they want to take on the role.
The House Agents Association (HAA) said that over the past 10 years, wages have fallen by more than 40 per cent, as house agents increasingly struggle to keep up with the soaring demand for their services.
However, it warned that the current situation could be exacerbated by a government crackdown on the house agent profession.
The HAA says the industry is already experiencing a significant loss of income as a result of the Government’s clampdown on the profession, which has led to a “sudden drop” in pay for house agents, the National Union of Mineworkers and the Irish Council of Trade Unions (ICU).
“It is very hard to find a job that is going to get you through your shift,” said Paul Farrell, the HAA’s chief executive.
“In some sectors we are seeing a real dip, and that is probably going to be the case for the foreseeable future.”
It’s really hard to see a job going forward where you don’t get paid the minimum wage.
“The HAAA has been fighting to keep the industry afloat, but has been told by the Government that it is too expensive for it to maintain a presence in the country.
The Government has also been considering scrapping the current system of paying the average house agent as little less than €2.50 an hour, which is the threshold for a salary.
However the HAAA believes this is a “far too generous threshold” and would only benefit those who work as “house agents” and have a strong relationship with the government.”
There’s no doubt there are people out there that are going to have to find alternative work to get by and they are not going to necessarily be the ones who are making the most of the money,” said Farrell.
The union has also warned that people working as house agent agents could lose their jobs under the new regime.”
That’s where we have to be very careful,” said union organiser John McCarthy.”
We don’t want people to be looking for jobs that are really insecure or precarious, where they’re making the least amount of money.
“The Government is going through a major transition right now, and the government needs to be absolutely clear about what it is that they are doing.”
The Irish Examiner understands that the government has already begun to consider scrapping this system.