중앙데일리

Average wage of foreign workers falls far below local rate

June 23,2010
The average annual salary of foreign workers in Korea is lower than that of the average pay of the bottom 10 percent of Korean workers, according to the National Tax Service.

The data released yesterday underscored that most foreign workers in Korea are employed in low-skilled, low-paying jobs that are shunned by Koreans.

Although the total amount of wages for foreign workers rose in 2008, the average pay per worker fell.

In 2008, the number of foreign workers who filed tax returns tallied 344,583, a 22 percent increase from 2007.

The total amount of wages paid to foreign workers that year amounted to 4.54 trillion won ($3.84 billion), up 18.7 percent from 2007.

But the average wage of foreign workers was 13.17 million won, a 2.9 percent decline from 2007.

This was 1.43 million won lower than the average yearly income of the bottom 10 percent of Korean workers in 2008, which was 14.6 million won.

There were 7,945 foreign workers who received more than the average Korean worker’s income of about 40 million won.

This is only 2.3 percent of the total number of foreign workers. More than half of the foreign workers in the upper salary bracket received more than 80 million won.

These high-income earners were mainly concentrated in Seoul since they held white collar jobs, while the majority of blue-collar jobs are in the rest of the country.

Those foreign workers living in Seoul had the largest average income at 33.72 million won in 2008, close to the average salary of the entire Korean workforce of 38.20 million won.

However, in the rest of the country, the wage conditions of foreign workers fell far below even the bottom 10 percent of the local working population.

The city with the second highest average annual wage for foreign workers was Daejeon with 14.33 million won.

The average foreign worker salary was 12.33 million won in Busan and 10.79 million won in Gangwon.

Foreign workers in South Jeolla were the most underpaid as the average income they received was 7 million won.

Those in Gwangju, Jeju and North Jeolla were paid around 8 million won annually.


By Lee Jung-yoon [joyce@joongang.co.kr]



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